RORY McILROY has taken the plunge and bought a palatial new US$10.9m home in Palm Beach Gardens, slap in the heart of American golf's South Florida hotbed.
The 10,000 sq ft house boasts six bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a fully-equipped gym, swimming pool, small putting green and a private dock at the end of the back garden.
Significantly, it is located less than five minutes from The Bear's Club, created by Jack Nicklaus and where McIlroy is a member along with Luke Donald, Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els, Dustin Johnson and several other tour stars.
Tiger Woods and a host of golf's biggest names live within a five-mile radius of McIlroy's new home. They all play and practise at three local courses: The Bear's Club, Greg Norman's Medalist and The Dye Preserve.
McIlroy rented a house on nearby Jupiter Island early this year but his decision to follow the path taken by Ryder Cup comrades Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood and Peter Hanson and buy a home in the States was inevitable.
Especially following McIlroy's decision last summer to place his 6,000 square foot home at Moneyreagh, Co Down, on the market at €2.3m. Though delighted to stay with his parents when at home, McIlroy (23) clearly was going to need a base for himself.
With the world elite professional circuit focused strongly on the US and the absence of personal taxes in Florida, Palm Beach was an obvious choice for McIlroy, not forgetting his girlfriend, tennis ace Caroline Wozniacki.
Having earned €11,904,126 on the course in 2012 and due to sign an endorsement deal with Nike worth US$200m-plus over the next 10 years, McIlroy had his pick of the market.
The Champions Tour regular, who wields a broom-handle putter, won his national title once before, back in 1989.
Justin Rose tied fourth after a disappointing 76, while Tom Watson (63) shot the day's best round (69) as howling gales force a three-hour interval in play.
Elsewhere, Charl Schwartzel romped home at the Thailand Golf Championship, posting his third 65 in four days to finish 11 ahead of runner-up Bubba Watson at Amata Spring. Darren Clarke shared 22nd on five-under after a 72.
In other news, Scott Jamieson clinched his maiden European Tour title at Royal Durban after the inaugural Nelson Mandela Championship was reduced by flooding to 36 holes on a severely truncated par-65 course.
Jamieson gunned down England's Steve Webster and Spain's Edoardo De La Riva after tying them on seven-under with a closing 57. Peter Lawrie shared 39th on one-under after his 63, one ahead of Damien McGrane, who shot 64.