Belfast Telegraph

Big-hearted Rory McIlroy on course for return visit to devastated Haiti

By Karl MacGinty

Golf superstar Rory McIlroy will champion the cause of Haiti's children once again when he returns to the devastated Caribbean nation next week on a two-day humanitarian mission.

McIlroy flies to Haiti on Easter Monday to meet children and their families to see how their lives have changed since his last visit two years ago, months after the cataclysmic 2010 earthquake which wrecked their country.

Once again, the people of Haiti should also give McIlroy fresh perspective as he prepares for one of golf's majors.

The US Masters, the first Major Championship of 2013, takes place the week after next.

The Holywood hero is expected to travel from Haiti to Augusta National for two days practice in private on its hallowed turf.

Back in 2011, Ulster wunderkind McIlroy helped focus international attention on Haiti. Now, as a two-time Major Champion and recent World No 1, his visit will make an even greater global impact.

"Thankfully, I've experienced some success in recent years and this is an opportunity for me to use that success to support a great organisation," said the 23-year-old.

"It has been nearly two years since my last visit to Haiti and I'm really excited to be going back," McIlroy added. "Haiti is an inspiring and humbling country where children face daily struggles and deprivation unnecessarily.

"If my presence there helps to create international awareness of the difficulties Haitian children face, then I'll be delighted.

"During my last visit, I witnessed daily life for some of the world's most vulnerable children. UNICEF's great work in Haiti is helping to combat disease and change lives. "

Peter Power, Executive Director of UNICEF Ireland, said: "We're thrilled Rory has decided to support our work by taking time out from his busy schedule to assist our on-the-ground efforts to transform the lives of children in Haiti."

A fortnight night after his return from Haiti in May 2011, McIlroy romped to a record-breaking first Major Championship victory at the US Open in Congressional.

This was just 70 days after his infamous Sunday meltdown at that year's Masters, and the children of Haiti certainly played a part in McIlroy's remarkable recovery.

"I thought I'd perspective before going to Haiti," he said at the time. "Then actually seeing it, it just gives you a completely different view on the world and the game that you play."

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