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Martin McGuinness in rough as he almost hits aide during Rory McIlroy masterclass

By Lesley-Anne Henry

He may have been taking tips from one of the best in the world, but Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister needs to dramatically improve his swing.

Martin McGuinness, who is more used to casting a fishing line than driving a golf ball, narrowly missed hitting one of his private secretaries during a brief lesson from US Open champion Rory McIlroy on the lawn at Stormont Castle yesterday.

The Sinn Fein man was left red-faced after chipping the ball directly towards the female member of staff. Even the normally unflappable McIlroy looked worried.

Fortunately the ball fell short of the OFMDFM civil servant so officials and ministers were able to laugh it off.

Peter Robinson, who has taken up golf in recent years, made a better attempt when he took his turn with the iron.

The First and Deputy First Ministers had invited the 22-year-old sporting superstar to Stormont for a private meeting where they congratulated him on his recent success.

Rory, who has hardly left the massive silver trophy down since his flawless performance at the Congressional course in Maryland two weeks ago, once again proudly showed it off.

He has been pictured on Twitter downing champagne from it but yesterday he was much more reserved as he posed for photographs with Stormont's top two. Culture and Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin also tweeted that she had met the young golf legend.

Earlier in the day Rory-fever gripped Sullivan Upper School when its most famous past pupil made a surprise visit to the Holywood grammar for assembly.

There were screams from the pupils as Rory appeared on stage. Looking around the room, he said: "A few of the teachers will tell you I probably wasn't the best pupil you've ever seen, but it's good to be back."

He also acknowledged that juggling golf tournaments and schoolwork was not easy: "It was tough. I was away quite a lot so every time I came back I was always trying to catch up.

"All I wanted to do was play golf and I knew by the time I was 15 or 16 that that was the path I was going to take."

Rory has been taking a well earned break from the greens over the past week. He spent last weekend partying with boyband JLS and X Factor finalist Olly Murs.

Earlier this week he received a standing ovation when he arrived in the Royal box to watch the Wimbledon women's quarter-finals. While in London he also hooked up with tennis pals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

This weekend he is in Germany for the world heavyweight clash between David Haye and Wladimir Klitschko.

Belfast Telegraph


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