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Sunday 11 December 2016

Rory holds court at Wimbledon

McIlroy 'as big as Elvis'

Published 29/06/2011 | 05:00

Rory McIlroy (R) meets Andy Murray (L) and former Wimbledon champion John McEnroe during his visit to SW19 yesterday
Rory McIlroy (R) meets Andy Murray (L) and former Wimbledon champion John McEnroe during his visit to SW19 yesterday

RORY McILROY is the "Elvis Presley" of golf, according to European Tour chief executive George O'Grady, writes Karl MacGinty.

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Suspecting that Killarney could be 'all shook up' by the Holywood superstar's appearance at this summer's Irish Open, Tour officials are planning Ryder Cup-style crowd safety measures for the August Bank Holiday extravaganza.

McIlroy, who was turning heads at Wimbledon yesterday, is just one reason why golf fans are expected to flock in their tens of thousands to see him perform on the Killeen Course, exceeding the 80,000-plus who attended last year's event.

O'Grady insists the 22-year-old also will have that 'Tiger Woods effect' at the Irish Open because of his engaging personality.

"Wherever he goes in Ireland, Rory is everyone's pal," O'Grady explained. "So we'll have to introduce crowd control, a bit more like the Ryder Cup with wider walkways because you are dealing with something like the Tiger Woods effect.

"If it's all too tight, everybody will want to shake Rory's hand and he probably would shake everybody's hand ... but he's also got a serious championship to play.

"We'll also have to look at autograph policies and other measures to ensure Rory's comfort and safety. This kid is a superstar. It's the way he conducts himself -- how he responded to what happened in Augusta and how he treats people.

"For example, Rory must have been knackered after a day's filming with one of his sponsors at Wentworth on Monday but still stuck his head around the door at the Tour offices. He said hello to the staff and signed autographs, chatted and happily posed for photos.

"This is Elvis Presley sort of stuff."

Irish Independent

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