Published 06/12/2010 | 05:00
Where he wades straight into a vicious verbal battle between his Ryder Cup team-mate Ian Poulter and English football's preening mouthpiece Robbie Savage.
And chews the fat with Rio Ferdinand about Wayne Rooney's new contract at Old Trafford.
By following the adventures of McIlroy on Twitter over the past couple of months, it has been possible to build-up a fascinating picture of the 21-year-old, his attitudes and interests and the social circles in which he moves -- stuff to which the average sports fan never had access before their heroes started tweeting.
From the moment we began 'following' him on the internet, during the PGA Tour's third FedEx Cup play-off, the BMW Championship at Cog Hill, McIlroy's all-consuming interest in sport was instantly apparent.
After competing on the golf course, he relaxes in Chicago by playing tennis, and then spends much of evening glued to it on TV in his motel room as the US Open was being played at that time.
Once home with girlfriend Holly at the palatial home they share in the picturesque Down village of Moneyreagh, McIlroy indulges his passion for Manchester United and the Ulster rugby team, many of whom, like Darren Cave, Paul Marshall, Niall O'Connor and Paddy Wallace, have become the Holywood youngster's firmest friends outside of golf.
Trips to Ravenhill and Old Trafford and the rich social life enjoyed by Rory and university student Holly in Northern Ireland certainly help explain McIlroy's decision to give up membership of the US Tour next year to spend more time at home.
One of the highlights of McIlroy's career was October's Ryder Cup. While observing the request by skipper Colin Montgomerie to respect the sanctity of the European team room at Celtic Manor, the Ryder Cup rookie and his colleagues still sent out several interesting pictures from 'the inside'.
And McIlroy's fierce loyalty to those team-mates was plain to see as he leapt to Poulter's defence when the English golfer and Savage locked horns on Twitter, describing the Derby County midfielder as a "TWAT".
It's a measure of McIlroy's decency that he immediately apologised for using such a derogative term, albeit innocent by comparison with the offensive language which occasionally crops up on Savage's Twitter page.
The Derby midfielder's determination to rile Poulter is best understood when one considers that the one-million plus followers the golfer has built-up on Twitter dwarfs the 70,000 or so who key into Savage.
McIlroy has 50,000-plus followers and today we share with you a selection of the tweets which have helped people become more familiar with one of the fastest-rising young stars in sport.
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH RORY AT THE BMW IN CHICAGO
Tuesday, September 7 (McIlroy tweets): Very windy at Cog Hill today! Only managed 5 holes this morning. Hopefully it will be a little better for the pro am tomorrow.
5.35pm: Watching the Wawrinka/Querrey (US Open tennis) match in the hotel room. Can't believe how well these guys are still playing after four and a half hours on court.
5.51: Rickie (Fowler's) obviously very happy with US Ryder Cup picks today!!!
9.01: Just back from PF Changs, was soooo good! Hope Nadal comes on soon because I have an early pro am in the morning!!!
9.02 (from Bubba Watson): Thanks for the dinner invite!!
9.07 (McIlroy to Watson): Sorry dude but you could've invited me to go get a haircut with you today! Haha!
9.09 (from Watson): U had one already!!
9.12 (McIlroy to Watson): The way my hair grows, I'll need another one very soon!
9.51: Anyone just see that match point that (Fernando) Verdasco played? unbelievable!!!
Wednesday, September 8 (From Darren Cave): Who do you reckon would win in a triple threat (wrestling) match between Niall O'Connor, Ian Humphreys and Rory McIlroy?!
1.30pm (McIlroy to Cave): We all know I would win that one!! But if Humphreys grew his beard back he would scare me!
2.01 (From Cave): After careful consideration I have concluded that McIlroy would be winning after the first round ... but then blow it. Hhaaa!! (Ref to Open at St Andrews).
2.06 (McIlroy to Cave): You're right but I'd come back strong and finish 3rd!!! Hhhhhaaaaa.
2.11 (From Cave): I know lad but there's no £400 000 consolation prize for this 3rd place!
3.15: Just had a great session on the range. New Titleist Woods are awesome!! Feeling good about this week!
6.24: I hope Caroline Wozniacki wins tonight!!!
8.08: Well done Wozniacki! Looked like conditions were so tough out there!!
10.40: Just back from having fajitas with my manager, Cagey (Stuart Cage), and watching Federer dispatch Soderling in three sets. Need to rest up, big week ahead!
Thursday, September 9 (after disappointing first round): Just been drug tested. Not what u want to be doing after a 76!!!!
5.12 (from Darren Cave): What do you expect with a physique like yours?! Of course they are going to suspect you!!
6.05 (from Bubba Watson): That's the worst.
6.07 (reply to Watson): It's the 3rd time I've been tested this year!
6.08: On a better note, at least I'll make the cut! Haha (There's no cut at Cog Hill).
7.30: Vamos Rafa!!!!
7.31 (from 'Dragonstomp', US fan): Seems like being on drugs would the worst thing you could do for your game instead of an advantage.
7.39 (reply to Dragonstomp): I played like I was on drugs today!!
7.49 (above): Great remedy for a bad day at the office!!
7.51 (from Watson): Are you old enough to have that (beer)?
8.11 (reply to Watson): Hilarious!!!! I've never heard that one before! Haha.
Friday, September 10 (after second-round 74): Signs that my game is nearly there. Need a Quail Hollow this weekend to make Tour Championship! But if not, I'll have extra time to prepare for the Ryder Cup!
6.20: Just played three sets of tennis. Good to take my mind off the golf tournament for a couple of hours!
6.24: So disappointed Wozniacki lost today! She really lit up the US Open for the last two weeks! A future grand slam winner for sure!
6.32 (to Watson): I didn't know u played tennis! Anytime u want a game just shout because I travel with my racket....
Saturday, September 11, miserably wet morning: I don't want to play in the rain!!!!!!!
8.11: And just realised I left my waterproofs in Boston! This week just keeps getting better!!
1.30pm: Turned out to be a good day all round. Shot 68, it didn't rain too badly and Ulster won!! Only disappointment is Man Utd drawing! (3-3 with Everton)
3.30: My post round tennis match yesterday seemed to work so going for it again today!! My forehand will be better than my short game soon! Haha
5.49: Straight sets again!! Played my manager Stuart Cage. He needs to work on his game!
7.10 (Pic sent by Paul Marshall to McIlroy): "Saw this outside our hotel and thought of you..."
7.13: Congrats to Kim Clijsters! Three straight US Opens for her! Awesome!
7.56 (from US tweeter LLess41): It's actually her second straight but that's ok.
9.03 (McIlroy replies): I think you'll find it's her 3rd straight, just not in consecutive years.
Sunday, September 12, breakfast time in players lounge at Cog Hill: McIlroy snaps "Rickie Fowler in his traditional orange for the last day!"
2.05pm: Solid 5-under weekend. Not enough for Tour Championship but two weeks at home will be awesome!! Well done to Martin Kaymer (for winning Dutch Open)! Bring on the Ryder Cup!!
5.26: Well done Dustin Johnson (winner at Cog Hill)! Very well deserved after all the close calls he has had this year!
8.49: Waiting for my flight back to Belfast! Can't wait to get back home! Just landed at Newark from Chicago and then onto Belfast. Flight should be around 6 hours, just enough time for a decent sleep!
Monday, September 13 (10.19am): Home sweet home!!
Thursday, September 16: Nice little evening putting session! (In response to tweets, McIlroy adds: "yes guys that is the putting green in my garden -- it's an artificial green, supplied by Tourgreens. It's awesome!)
4.03 (from Ulster scrum-half Paul Marshall): Good you have lots of flags there --good for your confidence as who knows where the ball is going after it leaves your putter!
4.08 (to Marshall): Bit like you after you throw a pass! I was wondering why Bubble was playing so deep lately!! Haha.
4.30 (to Marshall): Darren Cave says Niall O'Connor once had to mark a pass from you!!
4.40 (from Marshall): What's with you ripping me out so much? Don't try to come between me and Niall. The 9-10 bond is a delicate relationship.
Wednesday, September 22 (Niall O'Connor tweets): Great BBQ with Holly and Rory, followed by a night at Funderland! My date was Darren Cave: I managed to win him a nice teddy!
Thursday, September 23: Just had a great practice session with my coach Michael Bannon. Only 2 weeks to go!!!!! (to Ryder Cup)
1.32pm: McIlroy relays tweet by Andrew Trimble saying: "I love the fact that Paul Emerick said 'hi Francois' when he met Ruan Pienaar for the first time yesterday!! ---- Hhhhaaa!
Friday, September 24: Playing Royal Portrush with Darren Clarke, Stuart Cage and my dad today, good times!
10.30: Just had my 7th hole in one at the 11th at Portrush!!!!!! Have 7 witnesses as well! Still 1 down in the match tho!!
3.31: Lost our match at Portrush 2day! Well done to Stuart Cage and Darren Clarke! I started the back 9 eagle, eagle! Still wasn't good enough!!
Monday, September 27, morning: With Graeme McDowell on the way to Ryder Cup!! Can't wait to get going!!!
Thursday, September 30, late afternoon (from Paul Marshall to McIlroy and McDowell): All the best tomorrow Northern Ireland.
5.33 (from Niall O'Connor to McIlroy and McDowell): Best of luck. Just keep the score board ticking over until we arrive Saturday morning!
5.34 (McIlroy tweets): Come on Europe!!!!!! Rotate photo
Friday, October 1, 8.21 am (from Paul Marshall): Enjoying some Ryder Cup action this morn. What's with the USA waterproofs? They are terrible!! On bench tonight ...
11.06 (US rain gear let in water and Rory cheekily tweets during rain delay): Just have to say our waterproofs are performing very well!
12.0 (McIlroy sends Twitter Pic of Padraig Harrington resting in European Locker Room during weather delay): Obviously didn't sleep too well last night Paddy.....
12.58 (from Paddy Wallace): Good luck this afternoon if you get out.
1.10 (McIlroy to Wallace): Next announcement at 16.00, doesn't look like much more golf today! At least I'll see the Ulster game!
1.12 (From Wallace): Get the whole team watching, the more support (we have) the better. Best of luck tomorrow, if you don't get out today.
1.15 (McIlroy sends another Twitter Pic): Jimenez is at it too.
1.30 (McIlroy relays tweet from Ian Poulter): Bubba Watson throwing USA badges out from their balcony as we are all signing. He can't tweet so I will. Haha!!
Saturday, October 2, early evening (Darren Cave tweets): Had an awesome day at the Ryder Cup today with Rory Best cheering on Rory and Graeme. Come on Norn Iron!
Sunday, October 3 4.55 (after Europe wins five and a half out of six points and leads 9.5 to 6.5 going into last-day singles, McIlroy tweets): What a day, what a scoreboard!
8.08 (From Wallace to McIlroy): Good luck tomorrow lad, bring it home!
Monday, October 4 (Well into a memorable night, McIlroy tweets): Hey, it's Ian Poulter, last night of Ryder Cup! When their team came over to our team room.
Time uncertain (McIlroy sends Twitterpic): Tiger and Phil beating everyone at table tennis.
Time uncertain (Twitterpic sent by Ian Poulter): Rory change your home page picture to this 1 I took of u drinking from the Ryder Cup!
Tuesday, October 5, lunchtime (McIlroy tweets) : What a week!! Think I'm still drunk! Jaegerbombs out of the Ryder cup! Great banter with Euros and Americans last night!
Tuesday, October 12, 2.02pm (Darren Cave tweets): At comedy night in the Empire with Rory, his lovely girlfriend Holly and Disco Dave Pollock!
Friday, October 15, at airport (Darren Cave tweets): Rory gets asked to take a picture, delighted!
A SAVAGE WAR OF WORDS
The tweets that made Rory see red:
Sunday, October 17, 7.47 (from Savage to Poulter, with above pic): Just bought a pair or your golf shoes ?????
7.51 (Savage to Poulter): Stop making an arse of yourself with your clothes pal they are ridiculous less is more !
9.20 (after a litany of abusive tweets and comic pictures, Savage rants): Hahaha !! No majors pal. You'll never win one. We're not good enough pal !! Accept it, you're more famous for golf clothes!
9.22 (McIlroy wades in): Anyone seeing this banter between Ian Poulter and Robbie Savage ??? Just have to say the latter is a TWAT!!
9.29 (Savage, the schoolmarm, tweets): No need for that language Rory ! You're an excellent golfer !
9.34 (Savage tries another tack): Your language is awful, pal. My little 7-year-old asked me what it meant! Good example to young children!
9.47 (McIlroy does the noble thing): Sorry guys I probably shouldn't have said the "T" word, but just couldn't think of a better description!
10.47 (Savage, such a sensitive soul, tweets) : Poulter's banter was decent but the young kids was over the line.
Monday, October 25, 8.18am (Savage boasts): Join me and also Sir Ian Botham on Wednesday night at Question of Sport live!!
9.10 (McIlroy responds): How'd you get an invite Robbie? D-list footballers aren't usually invited. Ryder Cup winners ... .
10.14 (Savage): Now, now Rory don't worry son be the bigger man ! I accepted your apology! It wasn't a nice word! It's called experience (sic)
11.25 (McIlroy): Let's get this straight. I wasn't apologizing to Robbie Savage. I was apologizing to the people I offended with the bad language. Wouldn't waste my breath for that idiot ...
11.39 (from Kevin Robertson to McIlroy): The word 'Twat' isn't offensive. The Cambridge Dict. says it is a noun for a stupid or unpleasant person. You were correct.
THE THREE R's -- RORY, ROONEY AND RIO
Tuesday, October 19, breakfast time (McIlroy tweets): If Rooney wants to go, we should let him go. One player is not bigger than Manchester United. Yes it will be a big loss but life goes on!
9.04 (from Rio Ferdinand): I never knew you supported us bro! When u gonna be at a game?? Rio.
9.07 (from McIlroy): Season ticket-holder! Was at West Brom game on Saturday. Was good to see you back on the pitch!
9.12 (from Ferdinand): Nice 1 bro. That Ryder Cup performance was #epic! The luck of the Irish (and talent) pulled us through. When are U coming to OT.
9.20 (McIlroy replies): Cheers mate. In Egypt at the moment so not making it to the games this week but hopefully I'll get to the Carling Cup game on the 26th. Have had some good nights with your prodigy Jonny Evans!
9.23 (From Ferdinand): Haha! Well let us know when you coming over and I'll hook U up in the players lounge etc! Good luck.
Friday, October 22, early morning in Egypt (McIlroy writes): OMG!!!!! Rooney just signed a new deal with Manchester United!! What is going on!? Rio, tell me it's not a wind up!!!
9.15 (from Ferdinand): It's the real deal too. All the doubters need to sit and have a look at themselves. A lot of people had strong opinions. Let's see their stance now.
9.30 (McIlroy replies): Alex is the man! He has to take most of the credit for this surely?
Saturday, October 23, evening (Rory tweets):- Did everyone like my performance tonight on X Factor?? Haha
Monday, October 25, 8.55am (McIlroy tweets): Well done to Matteo Manassero on his first tour win!
What a great talent! He even makes me feel old!! Haha.
1.30 (from Rio Ferdinand): Who's this 17yr old who won a title y'day?? He got #silks?? He gonna be a star?
1.42 (from McIlroy): Manassero, great player. He spent a few days with us at the Ryder Cup. Will definitely be on the next European team.
1.46 (from Ferdinand): Massive massive shout. Love 2 see the young guns flying thru in every sport. I wanna see u throwing a major in the air soon fella?!
Friday, October 29 (McIlroy tweets after Ulster defeat against Munster): Heading home very disappointed from the Ulster match. Wasn't a great game but felt like we should have got something from it.
10.0 (from Ferdinand): See u 2mo at O.T. Fella! Safe trip (to see United play Spurs).
10.03 (McIlroy replies): Cheers mate! See you tomorrow.
10.05 (cricketer Michael Vaughan to McIlroy): How you making the match... Don't you have to be in London for X Factor?
10.06 (Rory's response): I could still be singing by the end of the night!
Saturday, October 30, afternoon at Old Trafford (McIlroy tweets): With Roy Walker at the United game. That man is a legend! Didn't see Mr Chips anywhere though!
Sunday, October 31, 4.02 (McIlroy, delighted by 'G-Mac' victory at Valderrama, tweets): McDowell finishes the job as usual! Well done mate! His year just keeps getting better!
Monday, November 1, lunchtime (heading for HSBC in Shanghai): Sitting having lunch at Heathrow with golf's new world No 1 Lee Westwood. Ant and Dec just came up to congratulate him. Lol.
Sunday, November 7, 9.0pm: Somehow managed to sneak a 5th place this week! Short game saved me BIG time! Happy with the result and a big congrats to Francesco Molinari!
Wednesday, November 10, 10.30am (Justin Rose tweets): Need a hair cut! Beginning to look like Rory Mc! Can't carry it off like he can! Lol
Rors. :-) :-)
10.40am McIlroy, back home from China, sends Rose this pic): Like that 'fro Rosey?
3.47pm (Michael Vaughan): Are you going to the match tonight?
3.53 (McIlroy replies): No, I'm stuck at home with a chest infection and antibiotics! Watching it in 3D though...
4.13 (Vaughan responds): How have you got (3D) already ... Honey and lemon in hot water is what you need??
6.15 (McIlroy replies): Lemsip'd to the max! A United win would make me feel better tonight! (the Manchester derby ended 0-0).
Saturday, November 13, 2.30pm (McIlroy on his way to Hayes v Harrison): Arrived in Manchester for the big fight. Can't wait to get to the MEN Arena tonight! Should be quality!
11.06pm: Audley Harrison must have been better as an amateur!! Because that guy I saw tonight could not have an Olympic gold medal!!
Monday, November 15, morning: Just touched down in Hong Kong. Feels great to be back in one of my favourite places in the world. Third time lucky hopefully!!!
2.46pm (From Paddy Wallace): Pick us up a fake watch lad! Good luck.
Wednesday, November 17, Early afternoon (McIlroy posts picture of $100 bill) : This is what I just won off Graeme McDowell today! Easy money! Haha ... We'd a bet to see who could make the most birdies in today's pro-am. He's saving his birdies for the tournament.
1.12pm (from fan Ciaran Heenan in Belfast): Your new haircut is getting a lot of grief on Radio Ulster Rory!
1.17 (McIlroy, whose new blond/grey locks have raised eyebrows worldwide, responds): Obviously nothing better to talk about!!!
7.16pm (McIlroy tweets): Happy Valley race course. Right in the middle of the city. Very cool!
Saturday, November 20, morning (after opening with a 63 on Thursday, McIlroy shoots his second successive 66 in Round 3): Slow day at the office, but hung in there and stayed patient. Four behind Poults going into 2mrw. Need a FAST start me thinks!
Sunday, November 21, late afternoon (after closing 67 at Fanling): Disappointing day today. Finished 18-under but only good enough for 6th place. Congrats Ian Poulter, great playing all week!
LAST LAP IN THE RACE TO DUBAI
Monday, November 22, early afternoon (McIlroy celebrates arrival in Dubai by trouncing caddie JP Fitzgerald at tennis): 6-1, 6-2, easy!!!! That will stop his chirping! Haha.
Tuesday, November 23, evening: Just finished dinner in Frankie Dettori's restaurant in Dubai. Food was awesome! I did have a few jockeys whips with my chicken haha.
Wednesday, November 24, early afternoon (from former England cricketer Freddie Flintoff): Good spot this morning on the Sheik Zayeed road, Rory, it was me. Good luck this week mate.
2.22 (Rory responds): I knew it was you!! No one else would drive that car! Ha ha! Thanks mate, will you be able to make it to the course any day?
2.39 (Flintoff tweets): It is a cool car! I'll be there on Saturday. Great win for Ulster (at Cardiff on Sunday). Hopefully the start of a good run! See you at the weekend mate.
Thursday, November 25, early morning (McIlroy tweets new boy Lee Westwood): Welcome to twitter! Everyone, let's try and get his followers up!
8.0 (Westwood fires back, in reference to Rory's hair): Thanks Rory. I'm just pleased I wasn't stood next to you when that flock of sea gulls flew over!
Friday, November 26, Bedtime (McIlroy tweets happily): Ulster win away to Treviso. 2 wins in a row on the road! On that note I'm off to bed! Good night tweeps! Stand up for the Ulstermen!!
Saturday, November 27, 4.35 (McIlroy posts third-round 66 in Dubai, despite putting off green at 18): More like it today! More of the same needed in the final round! I'll try not to putt off any greens tomorrow! Haha.
6.53: Can't believe David Howell called my putt on 18 the worst ever on European Tour! I hit a putt on the 10th yesterday that was much worse! Lol.
7.10 (McIlroy explains to Lee Westwood): I putted it off the green, nearly into the water hazard. To be honest it was a solid (par) five in the end! No pictures on the scorecard.
Sunday November 28, late afternoon (after Ian Poulter's penalty on second play-off hole with Robert Karlsson for dropping his ball on his marker, McIlroy tweets the Englishman): What a crap rule! Still great playing for the last few weeks!
5.59 (McIlroy to Lee Westwood): Poults may not have won the Dubai World Championship, but he could be in with a shout for tiddlywinks world championship!
CALIFORNIA STREAMINGS AT TIGER'S TOURNAMENT
Tuesday, November 30, 8pm (McIlroy sends pic from Graeme McDowell's hotel room in Thousand Oaks and this tweet): What a legend!!!
9.25 (From Lee Westwood at Nedbank in Sun City): How's the jet lag Rors? Will be kicking in about now! Your United team are getting a good stuffing. (v West Ham).
9.26 (To Westwood): I know not good!! Need Rio Ferdinand on the pitch!! LA is freezing! Sun City treating u well?
9.30 (From Westwood to Ian Poulter, read by McIlroy): Hey Sparrow legs, just Tweeted tiger and he's blanked me! Have a word! West Ham 4; Utd 0. Tell McDowell. Ha ha!
9.31 (McIlroy tweets): Wasn't gonna follow Tiger Woods but now he's tweeting like crazy so I think he'll be well worth a follow!!
TALKING STRAIGHT . . . TO THE FANS
Late on Tuesday, December 29: McIlroy hosts Q&A with fellow tweeters lasting nearly two hours:
Q: Why will you not play next year on the PGA Tour?
A: I will play, just not 15 events to be a member. I'll play 10.
Q: Cutest golfer on the LPGA?
A: Natalie Gulbis.
Q: If you could have any celebrity, sportsman, famous person at your dinner table, who would it be?
A: Rafa Nadal.
Q: Scholes or Keane?
Q: Ronaldo or Messi?
Q: Who or what keeps you grounded? A: Being home with friends, family.
Q: What's your clubhead speed and smashfactor with a driver?
A: 122 and 1.50
Q: Who has the best swing on euro tour other than your good self!!)?
A: Charl Schwartzel.
Q: What are you hoping to get for Christmas?
A: Hair straighteners!! Haha only kidding.
Q: Are you coming to play in Florida next year Rory?
A: Yes, Honda Classic and Doral.
Q: Favorite tournament excluding majors?
A: The Memorial.
Q: Favorite go-to shot under pressure? A: Hard fade.
Q: If u could only win one Major, which one and what course?
A: The Open at St Andrews.
Q: If you could spend one day with ... George Best or Seve?
A: George Best.
Q: What do you think about tiger blanking the world #1 on twitter??
A: Bad form! Lol.
Q: (from Bubba Watson): Did you color your hair???
A: Blondes have more fun Bubba!
Q: Soccer or rugby?
A: Tough one but I'll have to say rugby.
Q: County Down or Portrush??
A: Portrush for enjoyment, County Down for a challenge!
Q: Best singer in Ryder Cup team?
A: Martin Kaymer! Voice of an angel! Haha!
Q: Any interest in being named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year?
A: No! Rickie Fowler should get it!
Q: When you changing your hair back to normal colour?
A: Getting more blonde in it next week
Q: Best chat up line???
A: Don't have/need one! Lol.
Tweet from Brian O'Driscoll: What a kop-out!!!
Rory: How's the jaw/cheekbone, Drico?
O'Driscoll: Sore. Specialist tomorrow so we'll see. You in the States?! Say you're looking forward to a little Christmas Break.
And finally ...
Saturday, December 4, 5pm (after treble-bogey seven out of greenside bunker at last wrecked McIlroy's hopes of a grandstand finish at Chevron World Challenge) : +5 for hole 18 this week! Nice! Good stretch from 12-15 all undone by a sh*t finish! One more round then off for 6 weeks. Can't wait!