Imagine Golf Blogs

Focus On: Rory McIlroy

The 2011 US Open winner

Posted Jun 30, 2011 by Chris White

Rory McIlroy is destined for greatness

From a young age, it was obvious that newly-crowned US Open winner Rory McIlroy was destined for greatness, and at Congressional, that potential – which was beginning to come through at The Masters – was finally unleashed on the world, to devastating effect.

This is a look at the life and career of Britain’s latest sporting superstar, Rory McIlroy, the golfer currently ranked as the world number three.

Rory was born in Holywood in County Down, Northern Ireland, a port town with a population of around 12,000, near to the capital city Belfast. His father, Gerry, a keen golfer, introduced him to the game at an early age, and Rory made a 40-yard drive at the age of just 2.

Once Rory’s golf began to improve, and his passion for the game increased, Gerry took up several jobs in order to fund his son’s hunger for the game. Rory appeared on Irish television at the age of 9, and was given the opportunity to show off his talents. This famously involved him showing one of his training methods of chipping golf balls into the family washing machine. After several attempts, Rory chipped the ball straight into the centre of the washer.

He began playing at his local course, the Holywood Golf Club, and became the youngest ever member of the club after he was proposed for membership at the age of 7. His first significant victory came at the Junior World Championship for the 9-10 age group in Florida.

He was then part of the victorious European Junior Ryder Cup team in 2004, and won both the West of Ireland Championship and the Irish Close Championship in 2005.

McIlroy entered his first professional European Tour event as an amateur later in 2005, still aged just 16, before turning professional in 2007.

In his first appearance at the Open Championship at Carnoustie, McIlroy carded a 3-under par 68 in the first round, which caught the attention of a lot of the media, for being the only bogey-free round on the day.

The Northern Irishman finished 2007 as the highest ranked associate member of the Tour, finishing 95th in the Order of Merit. This prompted Tiger Woods to invite McIlroy to play in the 2007 Target World Challenge, which McIlroy declined because it clashes with the European Open, and event he said he “would be stupid not to play.”

By the end of 2008, McIlroy was an established member of the top 100, and finished 36th in the European Tour Order of Merit, earning an invitation to the US Masters. The top 100 became the top 50 in 2009, and he clinched his first professional win at the Dubai Desert Classic, taking him up to 16th in the rankings.

McIlroy finished 20th in the Masters, 2-under par for the tournament, and clinched his first top 10 finish in a major soon after, at the US Open. He moved into the world top 10 at the end of the year, finishing as runner-up to Lee Westwood in the Order of Merit.

He started 2010 in top form, finishing 3rd in Abu Dhabi and then winning the Quail Hollow Championship, setting a new course record along the way. He then tied the course record at the 150th Open Championship at the Old Course at St Andrews, finishing the tournament in 3rd and at a career-high 7th in the world rankings.

Rory was part of the 2010 Ryder Cup winning European team, scoring a crucial half point against Stewart Cink.

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