Belfast Telegraph

Rory McIlroy glory deserves a monument

By Brian Rowan

On Monday, in a local bakery in my home town, Holywood, I bought two biscuits that had an image on them of Rory McIlroy holding a cup - one of his many trophies.

On Sunday he won again on the PGA Tour in the States, yet another million-dollar-plus victory confirming his place as the world's number one.

That's what he is. The best player in the world, arguably the finest sportsman to emerge from here.

But apart from the biscuits in the bakery, would you know his links and his beginnings here in Holywood?

I tweeted about this on Sunday, linked it to a couple of local councillors and asked: "On a dander up the High Street would you know Holywood is home town of one of the great sportsmen?"

There was no response from the councillors, but another local, the BBC journalist Mark Simpson, did reply: "No, you wouldn't. The only big pictures are of politicians on lampposts."

There were many tweets about McIlroy's latest win, including from the former Commonwealth Games runner Dermott Donnelly. "He's Hollywood Box Office these days!!," he wrote. And so he is.

Presenter Stephen Nolan also put his thoughts about the star out on Twitter, writing "Breaking: Rory McIlroy has won the Wells Fargo Championship by seven shots. Rory is the Biggest Star in the Country!!!!!"

Which brings us back to the High Street in Holywood, where much of the recent talk has been about the new pavement.

But where is the big McIlroy "something" that identifies the centre of this town as his place? What is there for the visitor to see that boasts of this being where it all began?

It's something to think about. Yes, you will see it up on the hill at the golf club.

But what about seeing it elsewhere?

McIlroy is back in Europe for his next tournaments, including the Irish Open next week.

Today, at Wentworth, he plays in the pro-am event at the BMW PGA Championship with One Direction's Niall Horan.

It's fitting, then, that for years now, McIlroy's golf has been in one direction - all the way to the top.

Brian Rowan is a journalist and commentator

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