Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Holywood wants to honour Rory McIlroy, but he's aiming to keep the celebrations low-key

(Except for a visit to Old Trafford, that is)

A picture Rory tweeted with both cups

Rory McIlory's team has knocked back a number of approaches from his local council to organise events to celebrate his achievements because he favours a more low-key approach.

But officials from North Down Council said they are still trying to set up a meeting with the Holywood star, who this weekend plans to appear at Old Trafford to display his two Major trophies.

There was some surprise this week after no plans had been made to honour Rory, who followed his victory at The Open by winning the US PGA Championship, in his home town.

Members of the golf club in Holywood even tweeted asking why there is nothing to celebrate him in the town apart from a banner, querying "something more permanent than a plastic banner must be due now surely".

Snow Patrol lead singer Gary Lightbody even called for Rory to receive a knighthood.

North Down Council told the Belfast Telegraph that officials had been trying to liaise with Rory's management team to organise an event or activity to celebrate and recognise his success.

But Rory's team had said his schedule would not allow for it.

The council further said that it had been told Rory would prefer to remain low-key.

Yesterday it emerged that Rory is set to parade both his Wanamaker trophy and the Claret Jug from his Open victory around the Old Trafford grounds of Manchester United before their opening match on Saturday afternoon.

He has not taken part in any official event in Northern Ireland.

Rory was congratulated by First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at Stormont Castle after winning the Open, but neglected to bring the Claret Jug that day, claiming it needed cleaned.

Comparatively, Paralympic skiier Kelly Gallagher attended an event at Bangor Castle in May to be honoured after winning Gold at the Paralympics.

Rory has won not just The Open and US PGA this year, but also the US Open in 2011 and the 2012 PGA Championship.

He is the first European golfer to win three different Majors, and joined Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as one of three to win three Majors by the age of 25.

A spokeswoman for North Down Council said it was keen to organise a local event or activity to honour Rory, however this had not so far been possible.

"Officers from North Down Borough Council have made contact with Rory's management team to propose a series of events/activities that we were keen to undertake to enable local people to celebrate and recognise his success," she said.

"We were advised that his schedule would not allow these and that Rory would prefer a more low-key approach be taken."

Rory's management team were approached for a response.

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