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Irish Open: Stage set for the most triumphant of homecomings then our Rory fluffs his lines

By Ivan Little

Published 29/05/2015

Some 20,000 spectators thronged a windswept but still spectacular Royal Co Down to watch some of golf’s best players slug it out in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open
Some 20,000 spectators thronged a windswept but still spectacular Royal Co Down to watch some of golf’s best players slug it out in the first round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open
Ernie Els on the 4th tee
Danny Willett’s wife Nicole (left) and Darren Clarke’s wife Alison

The trademark smiles and the witty one-liners from 24 hours earlier had vanished like the early sun over the Mourne mountains.

A pensive Rory McIlroy slipped quietly away from Royal County Down golf course in his £140,000 Overfinch car after his over-par nightmare at the Irish Open in Newcastle.

He tried to put a brave face on it but the mood of the world's top golfer must have been as black as his Range Rover's bodywork and windows as he set off on the short journey to the Slieve Donard hotel after his disastrous round of 80 at the tournament he's hosting for his charitable foundation.

Rory's worst performance in five years was anything but a happy homecoming for the Holywood man on a day when rumours swept the seaside resort that a Hollywood superstar was threatening to steal the celebrity show from Rory.

Yet it wasn't immediately clear why Ocean's Eleven heart-throb George Clooney would be strolling around Newcastle in his shorts and sporting a beard that wasn't even stubble on recent TV appearances or why he wasn't besieged by fans.

Mind you, the social media speculation also had Ant and Dec, Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and his hairdryer pal Sir Alex Ferguson at the Open with only Elvis Presley missing from the VIP guest list.

The rumour mill had also sent panic through the upwards of 20,000 golf fans travelling to the first Irish Open in Newcastle in 76 years fearing traffic jams of monstrous proportions.

One radio station even broadcast an appeal for non-golf fans to stay out of Newcastle in order to bypass the anticipated chaos.

But the journey from Belfast to Newcastle was like a Rory McIlroy drive. On a good day.

Even Ballynahinch which can be a roadblock waiting to happen at the quietest of times was negotiated faster than a Jeremy Clarkson right hook.

Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen acknowledges the crowd on the 16th green during day three of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle.
Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen acknowledges the crowd on the 16th green during day three of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle.
Tyrrell Hatton on the 2nd green during day three of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello celebrates an eagle on the 16th during day three of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello of Spain celebrates a putt on the 16th hole on the third day of the Irish Open at the Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle in Northern Ireland on May 30, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark waves to the crowd on the 18th hole on the third day of the Irish Open at the Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle in Northern Ireland on May 30, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Padraig Harrington meeting members of Irelands special Olympic team at the driving range during the third round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
USA's Rickie Fowler watches his tee shot on the 2nd during day three of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle.
Germany's Maximilian Kiefer watches his tee shot on the 1st during day three of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 30, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
England's Luke Donald watches his tee shot on the 2nd during day three of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 30, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
England's Matt Ford watches his tee shot on the 2nd during day three of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 30, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Austrian golfer Bern Wiesberger drives off the fifth hole on the third day of the Irish Open at the Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle in Northern Ireland on May 30, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Rickie Fowler of the United States reacts to an eagle on the 16th hole during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Tyrrell Hatton of England tees off on the 4th hole during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Scottish golfer Richie Ramsey watches his drive from the rough onto the 3rd green on the third day of the Irish Open at the Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle in Northern Ireland on May 30, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Scottish golfer Richie Ramsey lines up his putt shot on the 5th green on the third day of the Irish Open at the Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle in Northern Ireland on May 30, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Richie Ramsay of Scotland looks down the 1st hole during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Matt Ford of England tees off on the 4th hole during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Bernd Wiesberger of Austria covers up from the cold during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Luke Donald of England looks down the 4th hole during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Eddie Pepperell of England walks off the 18th green during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Rafa Cabrera-Bello of Spain tees off on the 4th hole during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Lee Westwood of England chips to the 18th green during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark watches Chris Wood of England tee off on the 1st hole during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Scottish golfer Richie Ramsey lines up his putt shot on the 5th green on the third day of the Irish Open at the Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle in Northern Ireland on May 30, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Darren Clarke plays from the bunker on the 10th during day three of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 30, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Ricardo Gonzalez of Argentina catches his ball during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Andy Sullivan of England looks on with his caddie on the 3rd hole during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 30th May 2015? First Minister Peter Robinson pictured during a visit of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club this morning. Picture by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson arrives at the course after he was discharged from hospital yesterday, four days after suffering a suspected heart attack, during day three of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 30, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Andy Sullivan of England hits his 2nd shot on the 3rd hole during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Francesco Molinari of Italy hits his 2nd shot on the 3rd hole during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Ernie Els of South Africa hits his 2nd shot on the 3rd hole during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Maximilian Kieffer of Germany tees off on the 1st hole during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: John Parry of England tees off on the 1st hole during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Bradley Dredge of Wales tees off on the 1st hole during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Matthew Fitzpatrick of England pulls a club on the 3rd hole during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Matt Ford of England tees off on the 1st hole during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
TOPSHOTS The crowd fills a hill at the 5th hole with the mountains of Mourne in the background on the second day of the Irish Open at the Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle in Northern Ireland on May 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 30: Anthony Wall of England hits his 2nd shot on the 3rd hole during the Third Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland gets a ruling on the 18th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29 : Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland on the first tee under an umbrella during the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland gestures on the 18th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland gestures after his tee shot on the 18th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment Jonathan Bell (L) taking with Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland (R) on the first tee during the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy plays out of the rough toward the 9th green on the second day of the Irish Open at the Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle in Northern Ireland on May 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Martin Kaymer of Germany helps his caddie Craig Connelly to his feet after he fell during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Golf Volunteer Ken McCaw from Holywood sheltering under an upturned umbrella during a heavy rain shower surrounded by empty deckchairs on the Newcastle Promanade, while the second day of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open was played at Royal County Down. Northern Ireland- 29th May 2015
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Lee Westwood of England plays his tee shot on the first tee under an umbrella during the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland looks on on the first tee under an umbrella during the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland (R) looks on on the first tee under an umbrella during the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment Jonathan Bell trying out an egg chipping contest during the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland (R) looks on on the first tee under an umbrella during the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Martin Kaymer of Germany walks down the 15th hole with Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Rickie Fowler of the United States during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Martin Kaymer of Germany walks down the 15th hole with Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Rickie Fowler of the United States during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rickie Fowler of the United States tees off on the 16th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the 16th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his 2nd shot on the 15th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates his frist birdie of the week on the 7th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland looks down the 10th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland looks on with caddie JP Fitzgerald during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Gary McShane and Ciaran Murphy (R), winners of the Emirates Wacky Trousers' day at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Gary McShane and Ciaran Murphy (R), winners of the Emirates Wacky Trousers' day at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark hits his 2nd shot on the 18th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark hits his 2nd shot on the 18th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Francesco Molinari of Italy hits his 2nd shot on the 9th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Richie Ramsay of Scotland looks down the 9th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the 9th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his 2nd shot on the 9th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his 2nd shot on the 9th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland putts on the 9th green during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks on the 9th green during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy watches his 2nd shot on the 9th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Rory McIlroy on the 9th fairway during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Rory McIlroy on the 7th green during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Rory McIlroy watches his tee shot on the 6th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Rory McIlroy on the 9th green during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Rory McIlroy watches his second shot on the 6th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Germany's Maximillian Kiefer lines up a putt on the 1st during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy reacts after his second shot on the 4th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Ireland's Shane Lowry smiles after putting with his wedge during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington plays from the rough on the 8th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Germany's Maximillian Kiefer plays from the rough on the 1st during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Ireland's Shane Lowry plays from a bunker on the 14th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Ireland's Shane Lowry plays from a bunker on the 14th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Ireland's Shane Lowry putts with a wedge on the 13th green during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
South Africa's Ernie Els reacts to a putt on the 13th green during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
South Africa's Ernie Els reacts to a putt on the 13th green during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
South Africa's Ernie Els chips onto the 13th green during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Spain's Sergio Garcia plays from the rough on the 13th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Spain's Sergio Garcia plays from the bunker on the 12th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Spain's Sergio Garcia narrowly misses a putt on the 10th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington watches his second shot on the 13th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington watches his second shot on the 13th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington lines up a putt on the 13th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington watches his tee shot on the 11th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington watches his tee shot on the 10th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington putts on the 12th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Scotland's Richie Ramsay hits his second shot on the 9th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Scotland's Richie Ramsay celebrates a putt on the 8th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy reacts after his second shot on the 4th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Ireland's Shane Lowry smiles after putting during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington chips on to the green during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Finland's Mikko Ilonen watches his tee shot on the 10th during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington (right) and Finland's Mikko Ilonen make their way to the 12th tee box during day two of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday May 29, 2015. See PA story GOLF Irish. Photo credit should read: Brian Lawless/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use. No false commercial association. No video emulation. No manipulation of images.
Austrian golfer Bernd Wiesberger watches his putt shot on the 5th green on the second day of the Irish Open at the Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle in Northern Ireland on May 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Irish golfer Padraig Harrington plays out of the rough onto the 18th green on the second day of the Irish Open at the Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle in Northern Ireland on May 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Irish golfer Padraig Harrington waves to the crowd after playing his tee shot on the 17th green on the second day of the Irish Open at the Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle in Northern Ireland on May 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Irish golfer Padraig Harrington (L) lines up up tee shot on the 17th green, in front of the Mournes mountains, on the second day of the Irish Open at the Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle in Northern Ireland on May 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Irish golfer Padraig Harrington plays out of the rough onto the 18th green on the second day of the Irish Open at the Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle in Northern Ireland on May 29, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITHPAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Martin Kaymer of Germany hits his 2nd shot on the 5th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his 2nd shot on the 5th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Lee Westwood of England hits his 2nd shot on the 3rd hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the 4th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland runs with his security guard to the 4th tee during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Richie Ramsay of Scotland tees off on the 9th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Richie Ramsay of Scotland lines up on the 8th green during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Richie Ramsay of Scotland celebrates on the 8th green during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Richie Ramsay of Scotland lines up on the 9th green during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rickie Fowler of the United States lines up on the 3rd green during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: General View of Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland on the 3rd green during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks down the 2nd hole with Martin Kaymer during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Martin Kaymer of Germany tees off on the 2nd hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts to his 2nd shot on the 1st hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts to his 2nd shot on the 1st hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland waits on the 1st green during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walks to the 2nd tee during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his 2nd shot on the 2nd hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his 2nd shot on the 1st hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the 1st hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland tees off on the 1st hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts to his 2nd shot on the 1st hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts to his 2nd shot on the 1st hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his 3rd shot on the 1st hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland reacts to his 2nd shot on the 1st hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Francesco Molinari of Italy walks down the 9th hole with Shane Lowry during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Francesco Molinari of Italy waits on the 9th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Ernie Els of South Africa hits his 2nd shot on the 9th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Shane Lowry of Ireland putts with a wedge on the 9th green after breaking his putter in anger during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Shane Lowry of Ireland hitshis approach to the 9th green during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Shane Lowry of Ireland putts with a wedge on the 9th green after breaking his putter in anger during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Shane Lowry of Ireland smiles on the 9th green during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Gary Stal of France on the 8th tee during the second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Felipe Aguilar of Chile on the 8th tee during the second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Simon Thornton of Ireland hits his 2nd shot on the 13th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Mikko Ilonen of Finland tees off on the 11th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Bernd Wiesberger of Austria hits his 2nd shot on the 1st hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Sergio Garcia of Spain hits his 2nd shot on the 15th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Mikko Ilonen of Finland hits his 2nd shot on the 15th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Bernd Wiesberger of Austria walks up the 1st hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Alex Noren of Sweden hits his 2nd shot on the 13th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Steve Webster of England hits his 2nd shot on the 13th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Padraig Harrington of Ireland hits an approach during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Andy Sullivan of England celebrates an albatross on the 1st hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Andy Sullivan of England celebrates an albatross on the 1st hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Andy Sullivan of England celebrates an albatross on the 1st hole with his caddie during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Andy Sullivan of England celebrates an albatross on the 1st hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Andy Sullivan of England celebrates an albatross on the 1st hole with his caddie during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Simon Thornton of Ireland hits his 2nd shot on the 13th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Shane Lowry of Ireland hits his 2nd shot on the 1st hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Francesco Molinari of Italy hits an approach during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Francesco Molinari of Italy tees off during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Ernie Els of South Africa hits an approach during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Ernie Els of South Africa tees off during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Padraig Harrington of Ireland lines up on the 18th green during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Padraig Harrington of Ireland acknowledges the crowd on the 18th green during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Padraig Harrington of Ireland acknowledges the crowd on the 18th green during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Alexander Levy of France waits on the 3rd hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Alexander Levy of France tees off on the 3rd hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Tommy Fleetwood of England hits his 2nd shot on the 1st hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Tommy Fleetwood of England hits his 2nd shot on the 1st hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Padraig Harrington of Ireland tees off on the 1st hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Sergio Garcia of Spain checks the lie of Padraig Harrington of Ireland's ball on the 18th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Padraig Harrington of Ireland hits his 2nd shot on the 18th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Padraig Harrington of Ireland gets a ruling on the 18th hole as Sergio Garcia of Spain looks on during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Padraig Harrington of Ireland gets a ruling on the 18th hole as Sergio Garcia of Spain looks on during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Padraig Harrington of Ireland gets a ruling on the 18th hole as Sergio Garcia of Spain looks on during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Padraig Harrington of Ireland hits his 2nd shot on the 18th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand hits his 2nd shot on the 13th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: David Howell of England hits his 2nd shot on the 13th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Ross Fisher of England hits his 2nd shot on the 13th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Peter Hanson of Sweden hits his 2nd shot on the 13th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium looks down the 13th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Marcel Siem of Germany hits his 2nd shot on the 13th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Peter Lawrie of Ireland hits his 2nd shot on the 13th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium hits his 2nd shot on the 13th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Ernie Els of South Africa hits his 2nd shot on the 16th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Romain Wattel of France hits his 2nd shot on the 13th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Peter Lawrie of Ireland hits his 3rd shot on the 13th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Padraig Harrington of Ireland tees off on the 18th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Padraig Harrington of Ireland hits his 2nd shot on the 18th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Mikko Ilonen of Finland looks on during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Mikko Ilonen of Finland tees off on the 16th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Padraig Harrington of Ireland tees off on the 16th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Sergio Garcia of Spain tees off on the 16th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Pablo Larrazabal of Spain hits his 2nd shot on the 13th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Bernd Wiesberger of Austria lines up his 2nd shot on the 13th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Andy Sullivan of England walks down the 13th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND - MAY 29: Bernd Wiesberger of Austria (R) and Andy Sullivan of England look down the 13th hole during the Second Round of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Royal County Down Golf Club on May 29, 2015 in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

And inventive Orangemen in Dundrum who thought they spied the potential for making one or two of their Sovereign's coins and banknotes were disappointed.

From early morning two men stood outside the Evelyn Downshire Memorial Hall waiting for motorists to avail of their car parking and the promise of a bus into Newcastle.

But not an inch of their space was taken up and a few hours later the two men had shut the gates and had taken their car parking sign with them. Orangeman Danny Kennedy was in Newcastle but wearing his Transport Minister's hat, not his bowler.

He looked on as Ulster's talented triumvirate of golfers, Rory, Darren and Graeme -their surnames are superfluous - found themselves among the first to tee off.

The Royal County Down course was picture postcard perfection with the towering Mournes bathed in early morning sunshine which made an idyllic backdrop for the live TV cameras.

If Mr Kennedy was concerned about the future of his job or the Executive at Stormont he wasn't showing it, preferring instead to praise the police and his transport officials for getting golf fans to Newcastle with so little hassle.

"Everything seems to have been running very smoothly," he said.

"There's been a huge amount of work carried out to make sure the transport management system worked well.

"We learnt a lot of lessons from the Open in Portrush two years ago and the free Park and Ride scheme has helped immensely.

"If people obey the advice from the police and Translink it should be a really enjoyable experience for everyone for the whole week. But we are not complacent and we need everyone to co-operate and play their part."

Mr Kennedy, who said he plays golf badly, liked what he saw as he watched the Ulstermen start their Open campaigns.

"All three of them are very impressive ambassadors for Northern Ireland and we are so hugely blessed to have them."

More than 300 fans were waiting from 6am for the entrances to the Open to open for the first day's play which like the other three sessions this week was sold out.

Championship director of the European Tour, Antonia Beggs, was at Royal County Down early to marvel at the enthusiasm of the fans.

She said: "They really are astonishing. And the glorious weather at the outset showed Royal County Down off in all its splendour for the TV pictures which will be going into 400 million homes around the globe.

"My husband is from Co Meath and he's always been a fan of Royal County Down which is one of our hallowed courses. So hopefully the good weather will hold up."

Almost inevitably, it didn't and the rain which threatened to wash out yesterday's pro-am returned with a vengeance along with a nasty wind that tested the mettle of all the golfers, especially Rory McIlroy.

Frank and Pauline Steele from Belfast were among the first to arrive after a quicker than expected journey and went straight to the tee to see their local heroes.

The couple who used to be fanatical football fans are now totally hooked on golf but neither plays the game.

Frank said: "Golf is the simplest game in the world but it's the hardest one to learn properly. It's like throwing a jigsaw puzzle in the air expecting it to come down in the same order."

On the stroke of 8am, Rory McIlroy strolled onto the 10th tee to play the back nine at Royal County Down first.

The welcome for McDowell and Clark was effusive but for McIlroy it was explosive as hundreds of fans seemed to suddenly appear from nowhere.

American-born but Ulster-based Rory fan Michelle Page has seen him in all his glory across the world and had high hopes for him on what she said she believes is the best golf course in the world. The family of her friend Trina Barr saw Rory growing up, never imagining that he would mature into the world number one.

Trina said: "My mother Irene McKillen was the lady captain of Holywood Golf Club and remembers seeing Rory from when he was a five-year-old with his plastic clubs. It's great to see what he's become and what he's done for his charity."

Trina said Rory was one of the first golfers to sign a flag for the Rosie's Trust animal charity in Bangor.

"I only have a few more dozen autographs to go now," she laughed.

But there was little to laugh about as Rory's day went from bad to worse to downright appalling. A number of his fans watched in disbelief.

"He just hasn't been able to cope with the wind," said Peter Anderson from Dunmurry.

"But trust me he'll be back. He just has to make the cut."

Rory himself vowed to do better, not just for himself and for his fans but also for his Rory Foundation to whom he has pledged his winnings, whatever they might be.

"Nothing went right," he said. And no one argued with him.

Rory isn't the only one in Newcastle facing a sharp decline in his income.

The promised influx of golf fans into the rejuvenated town centre didn't materialise, much to the disappointment of four new businesses which have opened to cope with the extra crowds that didn't come.

The promenade was largely deserted throughout the day with day-trippers hardly tripping over themselves to get to Newcastle and on-street parking spaces which are normally so difficult to locate were easy to find.

The reality was that visitors were in more danger of being knocked down by council cleaning vehicles than by cars, though the streets looked remarkably clean in the first place.

The Shetland ponies offering kiddies' rides on the beach never had life so easy.

Outside the visitors' centre in the heart of Newcastle, several dozen deckchairs had been laid out so that people without Open tickets could watch the action on a big screen.

The seats were empty for most of the day.

Inside the centre, artist Patsy Forsythe was having an exhibition, but there were few people to admire his work.

"It's been like Christmas morning," said Patsy.

"The place is deserted. I feel sorry for the shops and cafes. There's no one in them."

At his usually busy Olive Bizarre café at the far end of town, John Gribben felt let down.

"We were told it would all be different from Portrush in 2012 when golf fans weren't allowed out of the golf course to go into the town, but here spectators have been ushered out of Royal County Down towards their cars and away again."

Mr Gribben added that their 'bread and butter' of local people seemed to have been scared off from going out by what he called the "scaremongering" of local authorities and the media.

"My only hope is that the Open will have a positive long term impact on the town in that people who see what we have to offer will visit us."

As he spoke there was news that Barack Obama, Ant and Dec and Tiger Woods had just been spotted in the centre of Newcastle, though the truth was that the stories seemed more credible than Rory McIlroy's scorecard just down the street.

Belfast Telegraph

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