Ben Everill

Tiger v Phil? Make that Rory v Jason.

That's the future Jason Day aspires to after he chased home Rory McIlroy in a US Open that confirms golf's new generation has arrived.

The 22-year-old McIlroy turned in a stunning performance at Congressional, shooting 65 66 68 69 for a 16-under-par total, winning by eight shots from Day.

But 23-year-old Day continues to capture his own attention. It was the Queenslander's second straight runner-up finish in a major - his third top 10 in the last three majors - and his fifth top 10 from his past six world starts.

Day ticked off another of his ambitions by jumping into the top 10 in the world rankings (he is No.9, Northern Ireland's McIlroy the new No.4) and hopes the two can battle it out for the top spot and majors for years to come.

"I'd love it if our rivalry was like the Tiger (Woods) Phil (Mickelson) one and I think that would be great for golf," Day said.

"We're good mates and it would be friendly, but people love those things.

"Hopefully Rory and I have many more years taking each other on down the stretch in big tournaments."

With wet conditions playing a part, Day's eight-under par total on debut would have been good enough to win or tie every other US Open bar Tiger Woods's 15-shot victory at Pebble Beach in 2000.

He shot a blistering equal tournament low six-under 65 on Saturday and backed it up with a 68 on Sunday.
Both rounds were bogey-free; in fact he played the last 45 holes without a blemish.

The boy from Beaudesert scrambled like a madman after hitting only 48 per cent of fairways (just 39 per cent over the weekend).

His recoveries and clutch putting showed nerves of steel, and it seemed the harder things got, the better he performed.

If you had told Day on Thursday that he was going to shoot eight-under and still lose by eight, his reaction would have been: "You're definitely nuts. I was thinking that maybe four-under was going to win it. It's just phenomenal.

"He (McIlroy) lapped the field. And for such a young age, how mature he is."

Day said watching his mate win a major before him was a little gut-wrenching, but it also gave him more confidence in his own quest to win one.

"It might take a little bit of time. I don't want to be too cocky because I know how hard it is to contend in majors, let alone win.

"But I am confident I have the skills to do it."

McIlroy, who first met Day when they played a practice round together in Melbourne as teenagers believes Day's time will no doubt come soon enough.

"Jason has played fantastically the last three majors," he said.

"I said to him on the 18th green during the prize ceremony that he's very close. I'm sure one day that he'll break through."

Former US PGA winner and Australian tour chairman Wayne Grady is one who believes the young pair could match the rivalry between Woods and Mickelson.

"At a time when Tiger's fallen off the perch you've got a couple of young kids coming along who are so exciting to watch," he told the Queensland Times.

"The way they play, how confident they are... the future is looking good.

"I just read the other day that everyone is crying for a new Greg Norman. Well hopefully Jason can fill that role and keep going."