It was quite the Father’s Day for Gerry McIroy, as he stood unnoticed in the middle of the golf-loving crowd as his son competed in the 111th United States Open.
The Irish man craned his neck to get a look at Rory McIlroy during what was one of the biggest moments in the young man’s career, but his efforts were futile. Unknowingly, he was missing out on his son breaking golf records and in the end, historically winning the US open.
Gerry casually walked through the course unrecognized by the thousands of fans that were simultaneously cheering on his own son. As he observed from afar with a quiet confidence he exuded the same pride and desire for his son to succeed as any other parent would, but without interventing.
“I’m just letting him do his thing,” he said to a New York Times reporter.
“The great thing about Gerry is that he always steps away and lets Rory get on with it,” said Karl MacGinty, a reporter for The Irish Independent who has been following Rory McIlroy for about seven years. “It’s actually an impressive feature in the man, with so many golf parents famously trying to seek publicity.” He added, “Gerry is a very quiet father.”
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Gerry McIlroy grew up in public housing outside Belfast, Northern Ireland, just 200 yards from Holywood Golf Club, where he eventually honed his skills as a near-scratch golfer and worked as a bartender.
It was there that he introduced Rory to golf, buying him his first plastic golf club three months shy of his second birthday. He asserted that golf was always Rory’s dream, not his, but admits to have been the one to push him into it.
For four years while his son was trying to turn his personal dream into reality in amateur golf tournaments and at an expensive golf academy, McIlroy was working 100 hours a week to pay for it. The proud father passed on his golf genes and paved the way for his son to achieve what he has in the golfing world.
At the tournament, all he could do was catch a few glimpses of his son getting ready to hit the ball but was not fortunate enough to see much. When loud cheers broke out at one hole, he asked a member of the crowd who stood next to him, “Do you know who just putted?”
At that moment, both the father and son’s dreams had become a reality.
“If it wasn’t for my mum and dad sacrificing so much, I probably wouldn’t be sitting up here,” Rory McIlroy said as he sat next to the gleaming trophy.
“Happy Father’s Day!” the son said as he embraced his dad behind the 18th green when it was done.