It's been said that adversity builds character and Rory McIlroy proved to the world that statement is still true with his history-making win at the 2011 US Open.

For McIlroy, adversity was blowing the largest lead ever held after the third round at The Masters in April. He made history as the youngest player to lead after the first round when he opened with a 65. For two more days, McIlroy took command of Augusta National, posting scores of 69 and 70 in the second and third rounds, respectively. He was poised to win his first major at the most prominent of golf tournaments on the PGA Tour, but a devastating final round that took him 80 shots to complete left McIlroy tied for 15th when his last putt fell into the hole.

McIlroy's mental state became the topic of conversation. When a young player comes so close to realizing a childhood dream, then folds under the pressure with millions watching, questioning how he will respond is going the sweep the local and national sports outlets like wild fire.

Thousands of writers, myself included, covered every angle and potential outcome of McIlroy's career after his Masters debacle. We try to find the answers, knowing before anything is even published that the words are at best a shot in the dark at what an athlete is feeling or how it will affect them going forward. It makes McIlroy's performance on Sunday even greater material than his fall from grace at Augusta.

Before McIlroy teed off on Sunday, many golf beat writers took to Twitter to talk about how calm McIlroy looked and how he was handling the pressure with a calm that was not seen in his last major championship. He handled media requests differently, taking far less. His body language was completely different, relaxed and confident. He even managed to crack a smile after being introduced on the first tee. At Augusta, McIlroy was a young kid who looked like he wanted someone to pinch him to prove it was all real. At Congressional, he was a consummate professional heading to another day at the office to do a job he loves.

The change in approach is what made all the difference. His swing was beautiful - a work of art in motion - at both majors. The equipment and sponsors were the same. The way the field and media pulled for him was the same. The only way for the result to change was for McIlroy to embrace the past and soak in every moment… every breath… every emotion that beat in his heart.

And that's exactly what he did.

Many have and will continue to compare McIlroy's 2011 US Open win to Tiger Woods' 2000 US Open win. McIlroy won by 8 strokes, Woods by 15. Both were very young in their careers, but Woods had already won 2 majors prior to his US Open dominance in 2000 and 19 PGA Tour tournaments. McIlroy has won only once on the PGA Tour before Sunday. Woods was 24, McIlroy is 22. Though the similarities are there, it's far too early to put McIlroy in the context of becoming the next Tiger Woods. Some have even said McIlroy will now have the chance to chase down Jack Nicklaus' 18 career major wins. Again, it's far too soon for that conversation.

What McIlroy did was remarkable, but anyone who starts to stretch the major championship win beyond what it is needs to take a lesson from McIlroy himself… let it be and learn patience.