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Saturday 20 September 2014

'He's trying to win a major championship - but he took time out for us at the petrol station' - Rory McIlroy fan tells of delight at bumping into him at shop

Published 09/08/2014 | 16:37

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'#1 golfer in world takes time to pose at gas station with my daughter, very nice. #PGAChamp @PGATOUR @CBSSports,' tweeted Timothy Campbell
Autograph signed by Rory McIlroy for fan Timothy Campbell and his family
File photo dated 20-07-2014 of Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy with the Claret Jug after winning the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday July 21, 2014. Rory McIlroy's Open Championship career has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous and back with his victory at Royal Liverpool on Sunday. See PA story GOLF Open McIlroy. Photo credit should read Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
Rory McIlroy with the Claret Jug after winning the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire.

He is on the hottest streak of his illustrious careers as he bids to win back-to-back majors at the USPGA in Valhalla.

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But the World No 1 still has to worry about the little things.

Such as getting petrol for his car.

He was travelling home from Valhalla on Thursday when he pulled into a station to purchase petrol when he met a family of fans.

Timothy Campbell was there with his two young children – Jonah and Maggie – when they crossed paths with Rory. Earlier, the trio were following much of McIlroy’s second nine at Valhalla.

The family posed with Rory at the petrol station for a photograph and signed an autograph.

Timothy recounted the experience on his blog vaughtsviews.com

“(After the round), my wife picked the three of us up and we headed toward Louisville on Shelbyville Rd. to fill up the gas tank and get dinner.  As we pulled into the Thornton’s just down from Valhalla, I noticed someone wearing the same shirt and hat that Rory wore today, did a double-take, and realized it was actually Rory McIlroy.

He had just stepped out of the driver’s seat of his 'PGA Official' Mercedes-Benz silver SUV.  He was going to pump the gas himself, but his cell phone rang and he got back in the SUV.  My wife pulled our car into the gas pump right in front of his.  As I hopped out of our car, Rory’s caddie hopped out of the SUV.  Rory sat in the driver’s seat and finished his call.  Maggie got out of our car and I handed her my PGA Ticket and a pen and told her, 'Now is your chance.'  She didn’t waste it.

Maggie asked the caddy if she could approach Rory, and he said 'Sure.'  She then motioned to Rory, and he smiled and waved her toward him.  She said, “Hi, I’m Maggie, how are you?”  Rory said, “Oh, I’m a little tired, but feel pretty good.  I had a good day today (66), could have been better.”

Rory signed the ticket with a Sharpie pen he had in the SUV. Maggie wished him good luck, and about that time I wandered over with my iPhone camera.  I said hello and asked if he minded if I took a photo of him and Maggie. He smiled and said, 'Sure, that would be great,' in his charming Northern Irish lilt.

I took a few photos and wished him good luck.”

“He’s the #1 golfer in the world and more importantly a fine young man.  Those two don’t always go together.  He could have easily ignored us and we would have understood — after all, he is trying to win a major championship.  But he didn’t ignore us because he has character and recognizes the importance and his responsibility as an ambassador of the game.  He took just a minute of his time to create an experience that we won’t forget.

The man is one of the best drivers in golf, drives his own car and was going to pump his own gas. And he’s even driving on the wrong side of the road compared to how he learned to drive in Northern Ireland.  Success has not gone to his head, and I hope that it never does.  If he keeps his feet on the ground, it’s hard to say how much of his potential that he will achieve.”

Irish Independent

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