Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy says it would be hard not to burst out crying if he won the Open on home soil here. McIlroy shot a record 61 on the course as a 16-year-old and securing the Claret Jug this week would be extra special for the 2014 winner. Being from here and with my memories of the course it would probably mean a little bit more, said the 30-year-old. I want to enjoy it and give these crowds something to cheer for.
McIlroy, along with fellow Northern Ireland major winners Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell, played a big part in bringing the Open back to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951. Growing up I never had that putt on my home course to win the Open at Royal Portrush – it was always St Andrews or Muirfield or wherever, added the Holywood player.
It says a lot about the country and the courses here. Living here and growing up here I think I took it for granted but it’s definitely given me an advantage. Ever since I was seven, eight or nine and up until now I’ve had fond memories of Royal Portrush and hopefully the Open will be another great memory. Those memories include meeting Darren Clarke at the north coast links when he was 10 and his former Ryder Cup captain and 2011 Open victor will hit the first shot when the action starts on Thursday. McIlroy, who has not added to his tally of four majors since 2014, is determined to enjoy the limelight as home fans pin their hopes on the world number three. One of my goals coming here is to enjoy the moment – to enjoy being in the spotlight and the centre of attention, he said.
Now that I’m here and see everything come to fruition it’s hard not to think of having a putt to win the Open. I don’t get that emotional in golf. I can separate the emotion from it and the logic but if it were happen it would take a lot for me to not to burst out crying.