Belfast Telegraph

The Open: Holywood celebrates Rory McIlroy's win

By Michelle Smyth

While there was a party atmosphere in Holywood Golf Club, the mood was also celebratory in the town itself last night as its most famous son scooped his third Major by winning The Open Championship.

People that the Belfast Telegraph spoke to on the streets and in local bars all smiled at the mere mention of McIlroy's name and were keen to relay their pride.

Tommy Chapman, who has known Rory since he was a young boy, had been enjoying the Open in Holywood Football and Social Club.

He said: "I am a taxi driver and I used to take young Rory up to the golf club when he was only nine years old.

"His dad Gerry is a good friend of mine.

"Even back then I knew he would make it big.

"I used to joke that when he became famous he should hire me as his driver. I am so proud of him today, as is all of Holywood I am sure.

"Everyone knew he would do it. I once played against Rory several years ago in a wee local game and won a trophy."

Alan Best, who watched the game from home, said: "It was super watching him get his third Major. It was a great game to watch as it was very close."

Alan Lamont from east Belfast said: "I am very proud to see a local man doing so well.

"He held his nerve in what was a very difficult last round.

"I think a lot of people expected him to lose his nerve but he did so well.

"My daughter went to Sullivan Upper at the same time as him.

"There is a lot of pride in Holywood and beyond today."

Ann and Brian McAuley watched the game at home but came down to the Maypole Bar in the town to celebrate afterwards.

Brian, who is friendly with Rory's dad, said: "I am a member of Holywood Golf Club and know his dad. I also played golf for 30 years – pretty badly!

"I remember young Rory walking up to the club with his golf bag which was the same size as him.

"We always watch when Rory is playing and this was amazing to watch.

"There is a real sense of pride in the town.

"Just wait and see, his picture will on on buns in the local bakery tomorrow, he is really celebrated here."

Ann added: "It is impressive how he can separate his private life from his professional life and not let it affect his game.

"He is a consummate professional."

Andy and Denise Hayward and their daughter Robyn watched the game at a friend's home in the town.

Robyn quipped that they hadn't been able to drag her dad "away from the golf all weekend".

"It was a great outcome," Andy said.

"We are very proud of him, he has come a long way since I watched him play in the 2007 Walker Cup."

Belfast Telegraph


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