Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

McIlroy planning on more golf glory

Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy has set his sights on more tournament glory as he made an emotional return to the golf club where his journey to sporting stardom began.

The 22-year-old record-breaking US Open winner said it was fantastic to be among old friends again as he arrived at Holywood Golf Club in Co Down with his trophy tucked tightly under his arm.

The champion landed back in Northern Ireland on Tuesday night after what he said had been a whirlwind few days following his triumph at the Congressional course in Maryland.

Hailing the sacrifices made by his parents Gerry and Rosie when he was a young golfer trying to make a name for himself, he promised to do all he could to ensure they would enjoy more Major moments in the future.

"It's fantastic to be back here to see all my friends, my family," he said.

"I can't thank my parents enough for what they've done for me and winning the US Open is only a tiny little bit of my appreciation for what they've done, so hopefully there's more trophies for them in the future and more things for us to share and celebrate."

The homecoming event in Holywood came a year after similar euphoric scenes in Portrush, 60 miles up the road, when McIlroy's compatriot and close friend Graeme McDowell won the same tournament.

"Graeme inspired me and gave me a lot of belief that I could do the same thing," said Northern Ireland's second US Open champion in succession. If Graeme hadn't won last year I don't know if I would be standing here talking to you as a Major champion."

After spending two hours inside the clubhouse, where the walls are covered with pictures of his triumphs, McIlroy emerged onto the balcony to a rapturous welcome from fans waiting below.

He thanked them all for their support over the 15 years he had been a member, even, he joked, when he was a seven-year-old "annoying the club professional".

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