Staff threatened as gun gang holds up Rory McIlroy's golf club
Armed robbers threatened staff at the Northern Ireland golf club where the world's number one honed his talents.
While Rory McIlroy was in action in the second round of the Cadillac Championship in Miami, three men attempted to hold up Holywood Golf Club.
The masked gang, one of whom was thought to be carrying a handgun, entered the premises shortly after 10pm on Sunday.
They demanded money and threatened two members of staff before fleeing empty-handed.
The workers – a man and a woman – were not harmed but were left badly shaken.
A spokesman for the Co Down club declined to comment on the raid on Monday night. North Down DUP MLA Gordon Dunne, whose constituency offices are in Holywood, said he was "shocked and appalled" by the incident.
"There is no place for this type of activity and I know there is widespread shock locally following this attack," he said.
"The golf club is situated in a very quiet residential area of Holywood and I know this type of attack is totally out of character for the local area.
"It is vital that the perpetrators of this attack are brought to justice and I would appeal to anybody who seen anything suspicious in and around the time of the attack to contact the local police urgently."
The attempted robbery came as McIlroy celebrated a return to form, shooting a round of 65.
Holywood Golf Club is renowned across the world due to its link with the popular 23-year-old sportsman.
A picture of McIlroy as a two-year-old is present in the trophy room and club members recall him as a child hitting golf balls with plastic clubs as soon as he could walk.
As well as pictures of the young protégé as a teenage member of the club, Holywood also boasts a replica of the US Open trophy McIlroy won in 2011.
He flew a group of his friends from the club to America so they could watch him in action during the tournament and afterwards returned to the club to celebrate his success with locals.
Police have appealed for anyone with information to contact them.