The Open Championship tees off today with golf superstar Rory McIlroy the firm favourite to win.
The Holywood star was in fine form yesterday during a practice round, acting the clown by juggling his clubs, hiding behind a pin flag and taking the time to sign hundreds of autographs.
Portrush golfer Graeme Mc Dowell said everyone is very proud of what Rory has accomplished and he doesn't mind the focus of attention at Sandwich being on his friend.
McIlroy has not played competitively since his stunning eight-shot victory in the US Open at Congressional last month.
He has been enjoying a few weeks off, attending events including Wimbledon and catching up with family and his girlfriend Holly Sweeney.
The 22-year-old was on the golf course at 5.45am on Tuesday to put in a practice round.
"First and foremost, I'm very happy to be back at an Open," McIlroy said.
"The first 10 days after winning the US Open it was a bit hectic trying to see everyone and going here, there and everywhere, but the last 10 days has been good.
"I've got back into my routine, been practising a lot. I've got to forget about what happened three weeks ago and just come here and try to win another tournament."
Meanwhile, four years after effectively ruling it out, golf chiefs have vowed to re-examine the possibility of Northern Ireland staging the Open. The US Open victories of Graeme McDowell and McIlroy have prompted calls for the Open to return for the first time since Max Faulkner triumphed at Royal Portrush in 1951.
And while Peter Dawson, chief executive of organisers the Royal and Ancient stressed such a move was not "in any way imminent", he did concede the possibility would be revisited.