Holly doesn't want to be a typical sports girlfriend
Published 25/07/2007 | 07:40
Despite his tender years, Rory McIlroy is clearly comfortable in the media spotlight.
But it's unlikely that the same can be said for his girlfriend of two years, Holly Sweeney.
The pretty 16-year-old prefers to stay in the background while her now-famous boyfriend faces the world's press.
"Holly is quite shy," admitted Rory.
"This is the first time she has been in the media spotlight and she has handled herself really well, but I think she doesn't want to turn into a typical girlfriend of a sports person, so she likes to take a back seat."
He added: "There is obviously a lot of attention now and we don't want to turn into a typical Posh and Becks-type couple. We just want to lie under the radar."
Holly and Rory - a former pupil of Upper Sullivan School, where Holly is taking A-Levels - met, perhaps unsurprisingly, at Holywood Golf Club, in August 2005.
"I didn't really know her at school," recalled Rory.
"She just came up with friends. I got to know her here and that's how we met."
But although Holly can hold her own with a set of clubs, she prefers to leave the hard work on the green to the man who caused such a sensation at the 136th Open Championship last week.
"I bring her to the driving range quite a bit, but she takes a back seat to the whole golf thing," he said.
"She's very supportive of me and she's very proud, but she only plays golf when she feel like it. It's not something she really wants to do.
"We do normal things together - we go to the cinema, get a bite to eat, go shopping; nothing out of the ordinary."
Over the last two years, golfing commitments have demanded that Rory spends an increasing amount of time in far-flung corners of the world.
And when he turns professional shortly after the Walker Cup tournament in September, his travel schedule will swell significantly - as will the phone bills.
"Holly handles it really well," he said.
"At the start she didn't really know what to think about it, but now whenever I'm home the time we spend together is even better.
"It's quality time, which is good in a way because we get to talk more.
"We do miss each other when I'm away. My phone bills are very high and I carry a picture of her in my wallet."
But now the adrenalin of The Open is beginning to recede, Rory is looking forward to his next adventure - an indoor skiing holiday in Dubai with Holly.
The young couple fly off on Friday - minus golf clubs.
"We booked it earlier this year, because I knew I would need to wind down after The Open," he said.
"I just went and played a golf tournament and played okay and that's pretty much it.
"I'm still Rory and that's the way I'll always be. Hopefully, I won't change."