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Rattled Rory McIlroy roars back at American fans' taunts but who had the last laugh?

By Allan Preston

Rory McIlroy came out fighting at the Ryder Cup, days after clashing with foul-mouthed US fans.

The Co Down player was locked into an exhilarating neck- and-neck putting battle with his US rival Patrick Reed.

After sinking a monster 63 foot birdie on the 10th hole, a defiant McIlroy cupped his ears and could be seen roaring to the crowd: "I can't hear you."

On Saturday the Holywood golfer was visibly rattled as he walked to the 8th hole in the Hazeltine golf course when a small group of spectators could be heard hurling expletive abuse about his sex life and break-up with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.

"Someone just said a few derogatory things I thought were over the line."

"I tried to get him removed. I'm not sure if he was removed or not, but these things happen," McIlroy said.

Remaining determined, he added: "It fuelled me a lot. The more they shouted, the better we played, so I hope they shout at us all day tomorrow."

On top of foul-mouthed hecklers and the pressures on the Ryder Cup course, McIlroy (27) is also at the centre of a major tax battle.

Along with a string of football stars including Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs, he had invested in the building of the £78m Birmingham data centre. However, an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs into the project's finances could see the golfing star landed with a massive tax bill.

Organised by the British investment group Harcourt Capital, the project was part of a tax-driven urban renewal scheme and investors used losses to reduce their tax bills.

Tax officials investigated the scheme as part of a wider examination of tax shelters used by the wealthy clients to reduce their tax exposures.

It concluded that investors needed to pay more tax and withheld relief for investors.

This decision is now being appealed by Harcourt and a ruling is expected in late 2017/8.

Harcourt has defended the investment, stating that it "strongly rejects any suggestion that the level of relief claimed was inappropriate."

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