Monday 22 December 2014

Home crowd jubilation as McIlroy lifts Claret Jug

Ivan Little

Published 21/07/2014 | 02:30

Rory McIlroy gives a thumbs up to the crowd after his two-stroke victory at The 143rd Open Championship at Royal Liverpool on July 20, 2014 in Hoylake, England. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
McIlroy’s home golf club in Holywood, Co Down yesterday

THEY call the leafy laneway leading up to Rory McIlroy's hometown club Nun's Walk.

But there were no vows of silence or abstinence yesterday as the devoted disciples of the greatest golfer in the world celebrated their idol winning the greatest golf prize in the world.

And as the supremely-gifted genius on the global stage who comes from just down the road sank his final putt to win the Open, the roar for Rory in Holywood could probably have been heard across the Irish Sea.

Yesterday as the golfing juggernaut that is Rory McIlroy hoisted the Claret Jug, the quartet of winners were preparing to fill other glass containers with the sparkling stuff, leaving bookies to count the cost of accepting their gamble.

At least one of the victors watched from the Holywood members' room but declined to talk about his spoils or about reports that he had almost sold his betting slip a couple of years back for a few thousand pounds.

Elsewhere in the club, whose extended trophy cabinet has become a shrine to Rory's fantasy fairytale journey to the top of the golfing world, other members weren't quite so reticent as the media besieged the clubhouse for the latest hurrah for Holywood's hero.

Rory's 15-year-old cousin could barely contain his excitement. But Fergus McIlroy had been given the inside track by Rory himself.

"He was home a few weeks ago," said Fergus

"And he told me he was going to be in contention for the Open. And here he is – it's fantastic. He's been playing so well and he really deserved it."

Outside the fairways and greens were strangely quiet yesterday afternoon.

"That's because they're all in the bars watching Rory," said one Holywood official.

"There's never been a better day if you want a quiet round – a really quiet round – of golf"

Birdie

Back on Nun's Walk, they cheered and applauded every one of Rory's good shots on the big screens before groaning at the poorer ones though the golf swings were nothing compared to the mood swings as the man who'd been showing the Midas touch all week birdied and bogeyed on the last nine.

Club captain Terry Malone said "We knew he'd lift the Open. But it was just a case of when. Two weeks ago his dad Gerry told me he would win one of the two remaining Majors. And I think it's only a matter of time before he completes the foursome."

Irish Independent

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