It must be doubted that the Claret Jug had ever before contained Jagermeiester, just as it must be doubted that a former US President had ever before congratulated the Open winner and challenged him to a rematch.

But then, Rory McIlroy is a rather special winner of the British major. And he is sure that 'Rory golf' will help him to become yet more special for the months and years to come.

McIlroy celebrated winning his third major - which also happened to be, uniquely, his third different major - in an appropriate fashion for a 25-year-old on Sunday evening/Monday morning. After all the media commitments and socialising with the members and staff of Hoylake and the R&A alike, McIlroy did not leave the course until 9.30pm.

A quick dinner at the rented house he shared with his parents, Gerry and Rosie, and friends including his 'bestest', Harry Diamond, and it was into an exclusive Liverpool nightclub where he met up with Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth. It was there where the 30-strong group had their fun with the jug, substituting claret with the German liqueur popular on the younger scene.


Monday lunchtime saw him return across the Irish Sea by ferry and although his homefolk will be desperate for him to salute his success in their traditional way, McIlroy is determined that the felicitations will not carry on too long. Because for McIlroy the golfing bug has returned and he cannot wait to resume his reclaiming of his sport's summit, starting next week with the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational.

Those close to him talk of McIlroy being "re-engaged" after losing his focus, for one reason and so many others, during the previous year or so. Within Team Rory they call the concern-free, blessedly natural style of his "Rory golf" and although the inner circle accepts that the golfing gods giveth and taketh away, they are confident that his standard is so high again that they can only see him carrying on winning.

His rivals should beware, not least Adam Scott, who could lose his No?1 tag to McIlroy in Akron. The Australian might wish to seek out the naysayers who snapped McIlroy back into his groove, just like they did at the 2011 US Open after the grim months which followed his Masters meltdown. Certainly, McIlroy sees the similarities.

"My first major at Congressional was maybe about silencing some of the doubters and battling the demons I had in my own head," the Northern Irishman said. "And since the start of 2013 it has been a difficult 18 months at times - winning the Claret Jug makes it all worthwhile. Yes it does feel a bit like Congressional. I maybe had to silence a few doubters about how I play links golf, how I handle a lead and how I play on a Friday.

"I felt like I could do it. I'd had the win [in the BMW PGA Championship in May] at Wentworth, my game was in good shape and I was just coming into form. I just needed something to click. Luckily everything clicked at Hoylake." It did click, but not without the odd clunk.

As McIlroy alluded to, he was forced to prove his mettle when Sergio Garcia, the major's eternal bridesmaid, made his charge at the altar down the stretch reducing a seven-shot lead to two. Watching in Ohio, Jack Nicklaus was impressed at McIlroy's nerveless game-management which, over the years, has been questioned at regular intervals.

"The other guys put the pressure on him with what they did," Nicklaus said. "Rory then did what he had to do. That is the measure of what you are doing. It is not to go out and shoot another 66. It's shooting what you have to shoot to win the golf tournament.

"I like his swagger and I like the way he handles himself. I like his desire to be great. I like his desire to do the things he needs to do. I like that in a young guy. He's cocky in a nice way."

That could just be the perfect description of McIlroy - "cocky in a nice way". When he was growing up he would make pronouncements about a garlanded future and even when he disrespected the Ryder Cup or declared he would like to play an out-of-form Tiger Woods, there was something inoffensive in his tone.

Yet as Nicklaus says, the desire has always been there and that is why his shock at his standing in the game as the third youngest ever to win three of the four majors is so intriguing. McIlroy is even ahead of his own highly ambitious career path.

"You know, when I used to think where I wanted to be when I was this age or that age, by the time I was 25 I just wanted to be an established Tour player and maybe have won a major or have had chances to have won majors and Tour events," McIlroy said.

"So to be going to Augusta next year as a 25-year-old with the chance of completing the career grand slam - well, even I wouldn't have thought that would be was possible.

"I will be going to the Masters with a lot of motivation and will be doing everything I can to prepare the best way I can. It will be a great chance for me to put that milestone to bed and from there go forwards. But just to be standing here today with the chance to say that is not something I ever imagined."

While the Jagermeister might have sunk in by now, the status as Open champion clearly has not. The reasons why are quite obvious. "Winning the Open Championship, the 'home' major for guys like myself, is very special," McIlroy said.

"But then wherever you're from, it means an awful lot to be the Open champion. It is what every kid dreams of. If they want to grow up playing golf, then they watch the likes of Tiger Woods, Seve [Ballesteros], Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson last year and fantasise about emulating those greats of the game. So to have my name on the trophy beside their names is something that makes me feel very honoured."

After the madness which surely awaited, and will still await, in Ireland, McIlroy is considering taking some R&R in New York City on the weekend before heading to Akron next Tuesday for the next test against the world's top players. That and the major at Valhalla a week later are more than conveniently scheduled in the refocusing the mind.

"I am going to take this week to enjoy what I have done, to enjoy the success that I have had and then try to get myself ready for the WGC Bridgestone and then the USPGA that is coming up very soon," he said. "There are so many challenges ahead I can honestly say I've never been this excited."

One of them probably is not the 18-hole rematch offered by President Bill Clinton. McIlroy enjoyed a round with Clinton in Dublin last October, but the old boy might now have to wait in turn.

Everyone wants a piece of the Champion Golfer of the Year, particularly one who could well emerge as the champion golfer of his era.