A heroes’ homecoming – US Open winner Rory McIlroy welcomed home in Holywood
Record-breaking winner on upcoming Sandwich Open - 'I want it'
Rory McIlroy brought Holywood to a halt and even the golf stopped on the rolling hills of North County Down.
The newly crowned US Open champion returned home in triumph on Wednesday afternoon, trophy in tow.
The welcome was worthy of a Major winner, the respect mutual as Holywood Golf Club paid tribute to Rory McIlroy and vice versa.
Members jammed the bar where his father Gerry once worked one of three jobs to keep his only child in Titleist golf balls.
Camera crews vied for space in the very dining room where a four year old McIlroy used to hit plastic golf balls any which way he could.
The 17th tee-box – on the par five he once eagled four days in a row – was abandoned as the juveniles suspended play to catch a glimpse of one of their own.
In fact, Rory McIlroy is more than one of their own in his pristine part of North County Down. He is their own.
“It’s just great to be home and great to bring the trophy back to where it all started for me,” McIlroy told the combined ranks of the local and international press before heading onto the clubhouse balcony and raising his trophy to the skies.
“I felt such a rush when we landed in Belfast on Tuesday. I am tired and exhausted after five weeks on the road but I had to come here today, I had to share this moment.
“This is my club. It’s the club where my father and my grandfather and my uncles played the game before me. It is a part of me.”
McIlroy confirmed on Wednesday that he is back on course with girlfriend Holly as well. She was down the back of the dining room, smiling as he verified a poorly kept secret.
On Tuesday night, they shared a Chinese meal with proud parents Gerry and Rosie. On Wednesday morning, he woke up happy in the knowledge that the US Open trophy was sitting on his kitchen table.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet, it won’t for some time I think,” added McIlroy.
“I’ve a busy couple of days ahead of me and then I am going to relax and enjoy myself. I’m going to Wimbledon for a couple of days next week then I’m going to Germany for the Haye-Klitchko fight and it might sink in by then.
“Then I’m going to come home and start to prepare for the Open at Sandwich. That’s the next major and yes, I want it.”
Dad Gerry was busy around the Holywood club house on Wednesday, mum Rosie wasn’t far from the Champions thoughts.
“After winning the US Open for my dad for Father’s Day, I’m going to have to come up with something very special for Mother’s Day,” laughed Rory.
Don’t bet against it.
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