Rory McIlroy has personally praised former president Bill Clinton for helping ensure an end to The Troubles in Northern Ireland and allowing him to grow up and play golf in a far more peaceful environment.

McIlroy made his comments on video and in a speech on the Thursday night of the PGA championship when Clinton was honored at a dinner in Louisville for his services to golf by the PGA. McIlroy went on to win the last major of the year.

Clinton was a key player in the Irish peace process, granting a visa to Gerry Adams and later sending former Senator George Mitchell as peace envoy who succeeded in getting the parties to sign up to the Good Friday Agreement.

The Guardian reported that, “The former president of the United States was handed a Distinguished Service award by the PGA of America, with McIlroy leading the plaudits with words of genuine warmth. Clinton’s influential role in the Northern Ireland peace process, McIlroy insisted, was pivotal to the golfer’s generation being able to fulfill their life objectives in peace.”

McIlroy had a great-uncle Joseph McIlroy murdered by loyalists in The Troubles in 1972 after he attempted to move into a Protestant area. The killing was never solved.

Clinton and McIlroy have become close friends and have bonded on the golf course. Clinton played a round in Portmarnock in Dublin with McIlroy for the Rory foundation which helps kids charities around the world.

Clinton at the time predicted that McIlroy would have a great 2014 by the way he was playing at Portmarnock. He was also said to be on the top of the guest list for the planned wedding of McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki which was set for the Plaza Hotel in New York in November, but the couple subsequently broke up.

Speaking of his foundation after Clinton helped raise funds McIlroy stated:

“When I was younger my parents sacrificed everything to allow me to play the game I love. Having that support from my family gave me the opportunity to chase my dreams. But I know that every child is not so fortunate. My aim is that The Rory Foundation will support children’s charities big and small around the world that try to give kids that helping hand.”