Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

McIlroy community awaits return

US Open Champion Rory McIlroy has returned after his triumph

Golf sensation Rory McIlroy has jetted back to the UK before an emotional homecoming to the small golf club in Northern Ireland which nurtured his phenomenal talent.

The 22 year old will visit Holywood Golf Club in Co Down on Wednesday on a day of engagements expected to include a reception with Northern Ireland's political leaders.

After landing at Heathrow, the newly crowned, record-breaking US Open champion spent the day in the Midlands filming with TV presenters Ant and Dec for a forthcoming show.

But all eyes will be on Holywood on the outskirts of Belfast when Northern Ireland's latest sporting hero makes his much-anticipated return.

Plans for a public celebration in the town are still to be finalised and the first engagement at the golf club will be private.

McIlroy is also due to meet Stormont First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

The events come a year after countryman Graeme McDowell was feted on his return from the US to Portrush on the scenic north coast after winning the same title.

The back-to-back US Open victories by local golfers have prompted calls for the Open Championship to return to Royal Portrush in 2016.

Sixty miles down the road, Holywood is intending to make sure it hosts its own party to remember.

Junior organiser at McIlroy's golf club Philip Brady joked: "You would have thought they could have just left the trophy in Northern Ireland to save Rory paying the excess baggage to bring it back home again."

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