Rory McIlroy's security to keep out public
Golf champion Rory McIlroy has blamed incessant attention from Northern Ireland fans for his decision to relocate to America.
The 22-year-old US Open winner appeared on American breakfast television yesterday to confirm his place on the PGA Tour. He also revealed how he has had to have security guards stationed at his Moneyreagh mansion and feels like he is living in a goldfish bowl.
"I have had security guards at my house every night since I won the US Open patrolling around the area," he said. "It is something that I just had to put in place, I'm afraid. There have been people driving up the driveway and stuff which isn't very nice. It's tough but it is just the world we live in, unfortunately. If you're in the position we're in, you're so public."
McIlroy's public profile has soared since he took his first Major title in stunning style at the famed Congressional in June.
His recent split from childhood sweetheart Holly Sweeney, burgeoning relationship with Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki and prolific online tweets have only served to increase public attention on him.
"It's definitely a lot tougher than it was three months ago," he added. "There are moments when you think 'what's happening here, what's going on?' But this is always what I wanted to do. When you grow up and dream of being a professional golfer and dream of winning Majors, all you really think about is the golf and playing in front of great crowds on unbelievable courses, winning trophies. You never think about the other side of it and that is the side that takes a bit of getting used to. It is also something that you don't really expect."
Last week Rory sent shockwaves across Northern Ireland when he revealed he was house- hunting in Florida. The news came after his disappointing performance at Royal St George's last month when he suggested that his high-ball flight wasn't suited to the inclement weather conditions at the Open Championship.
Meanwhile, yesterday McIlroy was in Atlanta for a meeting with his manager Chubby Chandler and his father Gerry.
Last week Mr Chandler told the Belfast Telegraph the sit-down was to discuss next season's schedule and the timing of any possible move Stateside.
"I am going to take up my PGA Tour card next season," added Rory. "It's something I really want to do. I'm leaning towards going a little further south than Orlando, maybe to West Palm. It's nice and I practice quite a lot at the Bear's Club when I'm here so it would be good to have that facility. It would be nice to have somewhere to put all your stuff when you're over here for three or four months. I'm not looking at anything aside from an apartment."
European pros Ian Poulter, Ernie Els and Graeme McDowell own properties in West Palm.