Belfast Telegraph

Rory set for hero’s homecoming

by Natalie Gorman

Holywood is preparing a hero’s homecoming for 2011 US Open champion Rory McIlroy today (Wednesday, June 22).

The golf star will be given a rousing welcome en route to Holywood Golf Club at 3pm today.

In an emotional moment at Bethesda, Maryland last Sunday, June 19, the record breaker from Holywood dedicated his first major title win by lifting his cup to the roar of the crowd, looking over to his father Gerry and saying, “this one’s for you.”

However, with such an legendary win, Rory is unable to stem the tide of praise and pride from around the world — not least from his fellow country men.

First Minister Mr Robinson said: “Rory McIlroy's emphatic win in the US Open is one of Northern Ireland's greatest sporting moments.

“Over the past four days Rory played perhaps some of the best golf we have ever witnessed. To have led from the first day of the tournament to the last shows a maturity and composure far beyond his years.

Mr McGuinness said: “There are a few of us who have followed Rory's career who never doubted that he would one day win a Major, but to have done so in such emphatic fashion is nothing short of incredible. The manner in which he has conducted himself this weekend, showing tremendous resilience and character following the disappointment of this loss at Augusta, is a tremendous example to us all.”

Alliance MLA Stephen Farry was among those to offer his congratulations to Rory. “This was a magnificent victory which was extremely well deserved. The whole of Northern Ireland was right behind him throughout the tournament. His win is all the more deserved following the disappointment at the Masters.”

North Down Councillor Andrew Muir added: “Rory’s victory was an outstanding achievement and he has done Holywood proud.”

North Down Green Party MLA Steven Agnew said: “I am delighted to congratulate Rory McIlroy on this tremendous achievement.

“This is a success story of a son whose father had faith in him and backed him all the way. What a tremendous gift that he won the US Open on Father’s day and what an inspiration to us all.

“It is clear that Rory has the potential to go on now and be one of the world’s leading golfers for the next decade but this will always be seen as the tournament where Rory came of age.”

Jim Shannon, DUP MP for Strangford, said: “I was watching his progression and delighting in the cool confidence that he displayed.

“I watched until the end as his dad walked towards him with the Ulster flag grasped tightly in his hand — what a father’s day present to receive!

“This young man put in the work, and reaped the reward yesterday as he broke records and set an unbelievable target for others to aim for,” added Mr Shannon.

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