Belfast Telegraph

Twitter out of bounds as Rory tees up for start of Irish Open

By Ivan Little

Rory McIlroy has slapped a social media ban on himself after a bitter Twitter row with a fellow major winner who accused the Holywood megastar of being bored with golf.

The multi-millionaire Ulster ace revealed details of his self-imposed gagging order yesterday at a news conference before the Irish Open in Portstewart, which his charity the Rory Foundation is hosting.

Rory said Twitter was now out of bounds after a war of words erupted over a tweet posted by 1995 PGA championship winner Steve Elkington.

The Australian claimed Rory was bored with the game and added: "Without Tiger the threshold is prolly (probably) four majors with 100mill in the bank."

A furious McIlroy responded with a tweet which said his bank balance was more like $200m and added: "Not bad for a 'bored' 28-year-old… plenty more where that came from."

He went on to list some of his wins, but speaking at the news conference Rory, who's one of sport's most prolific posters on Twitter where he has over three million followers, said he had recruited his new wife Erica to help him enforce his vow of silence on social media.

Referring to the Elkington reply he said: "I must have wrote that tweet and deleted it about five times before I actually sent it. I sort of regretted sending it at the end. I actually gave my wife Erica my phone and my Twitter and said change my password to something else and don't tell me what it is.

"As of the time being, I'm off social media. I don't need to read it. It's stuff that shouldn't get to you and sometimes it does. I'm off it for a while."

Rory said it wasn't what was said but who said it, adding: "Anyone that's been in that environment should realise how hard golf is at times. And I think that's the thing that got to me more than anything else.

"If it was written by a member of the media I could let it slide as I could say to myself they don't know really know how it is and what you have to deal with. But it was a former player who has won a major and been successful. That's why it got to me and that's why I retaliated a little bit."

Asked how long his exile from Twitter would last, McIlroy replied: "Hopefully forever. Hopefully, I have the willpower to make it last for ever."

With Rory having apparently handed over control over what goes out on his Twitter feed to his wife, it seems that she has restricted herself to non-contentious issues like the Irish Open and the golfer's charity work through the Rory Foundation.

There were few references to Mrs McIlroy by Mr McIlroy during the news conference, but at one point he revealed that it's his wife who wields the power in their household when it comes to their choice of TV programmes.

Rory had been asked if he watched Game of Thrones, much of which is filmed in Northern Ireland, but he said he preferred shows which were more reality-based, such as House of Cards about the US Presidency.

But he added that it was Erica who dictated what the couple saw on the TV and she wasn't a fan of Game of Thrones.

The night before - at his Evening with Rory chat show in the Waterfront Hall in Belfast - Rory was asked how he was finding married life. He replied: "Fantastic."

And he added with a smile: "Eleven weeks in... so it should be good." He went on: "It's a great time in our lives."

Rory, who has revealed little about his recent wedding, said he and his wife had enjoyed a 'wonderful' weekend at Ashford Castle in Co Mayo and were now house-hunting for a new home in Florida.

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