Belfast Telegraph

Ex Holly provides Rory McIlroy with a shoulder to cry on

By James Corrigan

Rory McIlroy’s life took another bizarre twist at the Masters after former girlfriend Holly Sweeney turned up out of the blue.

She came to congratulate him on his win, but after his defeat his childhood sweetheart ended up being there to comfort him on not taking the green blazer.

Unknown to McIlroy, or indeed to anyone outside his management company, Holly had secretly rushed over from Holywood to surprise him on the 18th green at the conclusion of the season's opening Major.

It was supposed to be a fantastic celebration, a joyous snapshot to go around the world.

Instead, as it all spiralled into humiliation, Holly remained hidden from him in the clubhouse.

Yet her presence was to prove even more important in ignominy than glory.

When McIlroy trooped in after signing for his 80, the boy had someone to hug and a familiar shoulder to cry on.

However cheesy that scenario may sound, nobody should begrudge him that consolation or indeed Holly's company for what could otherwise have been a very lonely week at his next tournament — the Malaysian Open.

The couple appeared to have parted ways permanently, with Holly embarking on a new career as a dancer and appearing at Ravenhill rugby matches.

The split was due mainly to Rory wanting to focus entirely on his golf — although Holly’s presence in Augusta suggests the pair are still close.

After they separated in December, Rory conceded that life as a professional golfer sometimes required him to be selfish.

“I didn't have a great couple of weeks before Christmas but you’ve got to do what's right for yourself,” he said.

Some weeks after the split he revealed that he and Holly had remained good friends.

“Me and Holly talk every day,” he said.

“We still get on great.

“I think we both understand what we want, and that's basically what it is.”

She was just 15 when she met Rory at Holywood Golf Club in August 2005 while playing golf with her friends.

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