Sport Golf

Thursday 18 September 2014

Rory McIlroy senior takes the bookies for a cool £100,000

Gavin Mairs

Published 21/07/2014 | 02:30

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Gerry McIlroy, the former bartender at Holywood Golf Club, lodged £200 with Ladbrokes at 500/1 that his son, Rory, then just 15, would lift the famous Claret Jug in the next 10 years. Photo credit: Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images
Gerry McIlroy, the former bartender at Holywood Golf Club, lodged £200 with Ladbrokes at 500/1 that his son, Rory, then just 15, would lift the famous Claret Jug in the next 10 years. Photo credit: Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images

A journey that began with a phone call to a betting shop in Holywood 10 years ago came to a emotional and euphoric climax on the 18th green at Royal Liverpool.

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First, Rory McIlroy hugged his mother Rosie and then moments later he embraced his father Gerry after signing his championship winning card in the recorder's hut as his name was being etched onto the Claret Jug.

It was a moment they had long predicted – from the time when McIlroy was chipping golf balls into a washing machine when he was a child.

Such was McIlroy senior's cast-iron faith that this was his son's destiny, the former bartender at Holywood Golf Club lodged £200 with Ladbrokes at 500/1 that his son, then just 15, would lift the famous Claret Jug in the next 10 years.

A year later two close friends of Gerry had also seen enough of young Rory's raw talent to lodge similar bets that he was a major champion in the making.

One wagered £200 at 250/1 that McIlroy would win the Open Championship up to and including 2015, while another stumped up £200 at 150/1 that he would be the champion golfer before the age of 50.

Ladbrokes yesterday contacted them to confirm their winnings of £80,000, while Gerry's confidence that his son was destined for greatness earned him a cool £100,000 return.

"As the family celebrations get under way there'll be an extra bottle or two of bubbly courtesy of the bookies," said Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes.

"This is the most expensive Open result since Tiger's heyday in 2006 but, although we're facing heavy losses, we can't help but admire the foresight of Rory's dad and his pals a decade ago.

"It's not the first time a famous parent has taken us to the cleaners. Lewis Hamilton's family and friends cashed in from bets placed when the F1 star was just nine years old."

McIlroy senior's financial security has changed beyond recognition from the time he and his wife Rosie held down several jobs to ensure Rory was given the best chance to fulfil his precocious talent.

Gerry is now a key member of the new company, Rory McIlroy Incorporated, that was formed to run his son's affairs – including the £78 million five-year sponsorship deal with Nike – last September after the controversial split from his previous agency, Horizon.

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