Americans just can’t get enough of Rory McIlroy and the golf club in an Irish town called Holywood – and they’re not alone.
Calls from the States, Canada, Europe, Japan and even New Zealand have flooded into the hillside County Down golf club where the new US Open champion learnt the game.
McIlroy’s success is already rebounding in a positive manner on those who play their golf on this side of Belfast Lough.
“The phone hasn’t stopped ringing since the first round at Congressional last Thursday,” confirmed the club’s head professional Stephen Crooks.
“We’ve had people on from as far away as New Zealand and lots of calls from America and Canada.
“They want to buy anything with the club crest on it thanks to Rory. We’re out of hats, ball markers. You name it and they want it.”
A club with a healthy reputation for nurturing young talent, Holywood has a thriving juvenile membership.
But they’re not interested in finding the new Tiger Woods in North County Down – even Rory is helping with the search for the new Rory McIlroy.
Holywood’s hero returned to his roots with the trophy in tow on Wednesday and the new kids on the block turned out in their hundreds.
Everywhere you moved in the welcoming halls of the course that shaped a Major winner, the boys and girls of this petite town were there to catch a glimpse of one of their own.
And their dream to do what Rory does is backed by the man himself in a very real way.
“Rory is hosting his second annual fund raising classic for the juvenile club here on August 19th and it sold out in just three minutes when the timesheet opened on Monday,” Holywood professional Crooks revealed as the kids abandoned the course to spend time with the young man of the moment.
“It is something Rory wanted to do to give something back to the club that gave him his start in golf and it is a huge success already.
“We have 180 juvenile members here and they idolise Rory. Thanks to him we already had a waiting list before his success at the US Open and now interest in golf amongst the young people all across Ireland, never mind just in County Down, is going to go through the roof.”
Like so many others patiently awaiting an audience with their hero, Crooks will get a chance to share a beer with the US Open champion as he recuperates from Congressional and prepares for the British Open at Sandwich over the next three weeks.
“He will be exactly the same Rory who left for the US Open without the trophy,” added Crooks, successor to McIlroy’s coach Michael Bannon as head professional at the par 69 Holywood course.
“Nothing has changed him over the years. He is the same with the kids here as he was when he was a juvenile himself and that is typical Rory.
“He’ll be out and about in the next few weeks and nothing will be too much trouble for him.”
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