May & # 039; virtuoso & # 039; McIlroy thread it together on & # 039; home & # 039; Open?

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Now Rory McIlroy returns as a four-time head champion with the weight of a nation on his shoulders while his native Northern Ireland welcomes the 148th Open Championship of golf for the first time in 68 years due to political dispute in the province.

The meaning runs deep for McIlroy – he describes it as "surreal" – and his mantra this week will be "looking around and smelling the roses", a euphemism for taking everything in and enjoying the home care that he will receive if he hunts a first major title for five years.

McIlroy can be recognized as quickly as "this is bigger than me."

"No matter who wins this week, having Open here is a huge thing for golf and for the country," McIlroy, 29, told a packed press conference on a wet and windy Portrush Wednesday.

"Sport has an incredible ability to bring people together."

But if the boy who became king in these parts, a second Claret Jug would grant divine status in Northern Ireland.

READ: Tiger Woods laughs at Koepka & snub & # 39; READ: The Open: Why a sense of humor and rhinoceros are the key to caddies

Hero worship

McIlroy was the 9-year-old golf prodigy who wrote to Tiger Woods and told him that he was screaming for him, and who kept his promise.

He was the young person from Holywood, near Belfast, who won the world under the 10 golf championship. He was the mischievous, chubby tyke who went on a popular TV talk show and showed his skill in a washing machine.

He was also the pushing young foal in ice-white trousers and shirt that broke the track record with a score of 61 in Portrush when he was just 16.

He was the man who reached world number 1 and won four majors for his 25th birthday – one of only three players to have ever done – with career earnings so far north of $ 60 million.

And if he triumphed next year at the Masters, McIlroy would only be the sixth player to have won all four majors of golf at one point in his career.

It has been a rapid rise that has made it elevated as the largest star in Northern Ireland.

On Tuesday evening, if the shadows were extended beyond 7 p.m. McIlroy spent more than 20 minutes signing autographs and posing for selfies with a never-ending crowd of fans on the 18th green side.

He knows very well that he was one of those hero worshipers not long ago. The logo on his T-shirt on Tuesday was from a washing machine in a nod to the "long winter nights" he spent appropriating his mother's kitchen equipment for practice.

Buzz

McIlroy & Legend began early when he got to know the game with his father Gerry at the modest Holywood Golf Club outside of Belfast.

Immediately addicted, he spent every waking hour in the club and cried when he was told it was time to go home. Gerry and mother Rosie worked several times and donated "every penny" in their only child's obsession.

His victory in the Under-10 World Championship in Florida caused the first waves.

"The buzz was going on there was this talented little kid, but it wasn't until he got his teenage years that you started to think he could be very special," said Stephen Watson, who wrote and produced the " Road to The Open "BBC documentary about the journey to bring the oldest major of golf back to Northern Ireland for the first time since 1951.

Word quickly spread over the wonderful talent of McIlroy.

"I would hear stories from him playing for Holywood Golf Club, walking on the first tee to play an Ulster Cup game or a senior cup game for amateurs with a low handicap, and his opponents said, & # 39; Who are you caddying for today? & # 39; and he would go, & # 39; No, no, I play & # 39 ;, "Watson told CNN Sport. & # 39;); $ vidEndSlate.removeClass (& # 39; video__end-slate – inactive & # 39;). addClass (& # 39; video__end-slate – active & # 39;);}}; CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true)? true: false; var configObj = {thumb: & # 39; none & # 39 ;, video: & # 39; tv / 2018/04/19 / rory-mcilroy-i-will-win-the-masters-spt.cnn & # 39 ;, width: & # 39; 100% & # 39; , height: & # 39; 100% & # 39 ;, section: & # 39; domestic & # 39 ;, profile: & # 39; extension & # 39 ;, network: & # 39; cnn & # 39 ;, markupId: & # 39; body-text_35 & # 39 ;, theoplayer: {allowNativeFullscreen: true}, adsection: & # 39; cnn.com_worldsport_golf_inpage & # 39 ;, frameWidth: & # 39; 100% & # 39 ;, frameHeight: & # 39; 100% & # 39 ;, posterImageOverride: {"mini": {"width": 220, "type": "jpg", "uri": "// cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext / dam / assets / 180419172304- rory-mcilroy-i-will-win-the-masters-spt-00000410-small-169.jpg "," height ": 124}," xsmall ": {" width ": 307," type ":" jpg " , "uri": "// cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180419172304-rory-mcilroy-i-will-win-the-masters-spt-00000410-medium-plus -169.jpg" "height ": 173}," small ": {" width "460," type ":" jpg "," uri ":" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets / 180419172304-rory-mcilroy-i- will-win-the-masters-spt-00000410-large-169.jpg "," height ": 259}," medium ": {" width ": 780," type ":" jpg "," uri ":" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180419172304-rory-mcilroy-i-will-win-the-masters-spt-000 00410-exlarge-1 69.jpg "" height ": 438}," large ": {" width ": 1100," type ":" jpg "," uri ":" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/ dam / assets / 180419172304 -Rory-mcilroy-i-will-win-the-masters-SPT-00000410-super-169.jpg "" height ": 619}," full16x9 ": {" width ": 1600," type ":" jpg " "uri": "// cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180419172304-rory-mcilroy-i-will-win-the-masters-spt-00000410-full-169. jpg "" height ": 900}," mini1x1 ": {" width "120," type ":" jpg "," uri ":" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180419172304- rory- mcilroy-i-will-win-the-masters-spt-00000410-small-11.jpg "," height ": 120}}}, autoStartVideo = false, isVideoReplayClicked = false, callbackObj, containerEl, currentVideoCollection = [] currentVideoCollectionId = & # 39; & # 39 ;, isLivePlayer = false, mediaMetadataCallbacks, mobilePinnedView = null, moveToNextTimeout, mutePlayerEnabled = false, nextVideoId = & # 39; & # 39 ;, nextVideoUrl = & # 39; & # 39 ;, turnOnFlashMessaging = false, videoPinner, videoEndSlateImpl; if (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === false) {autoStartVideo = false; if (autoStartVideo === true) {if (turnOnFlashMessag ing === true) {autoStartVideo = false; containerEl = jQuery (document. getElementById (configObj.markupId)); CNN.VideoPlayer.showFlashSlate (containerEl);} else {CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = true;}}} configObj.autostart = CNN.Features.enableAutoplayBlock? false: autoStartVideo; CNN.VideoPlay ayerProperties (configObj.markupId, autoStartVideo, isLivePlayer, isVideoReplayClicked, mutePlayerEnabled); CNN.VideoPlayer.setFirstVideoInCollection (currentVideoCollection, configObj.markupId); videoEndSlateImpl = new CNN.VideoEndSlate (& # 39; body-text_35 & # 39;) function findNextVideo (currentVideoId) {var i, vidObj; if (currentVideoId && jQuery.isArray (currentVideoCollection) && currentVideoCollection.length> 0) {for (i = 0; i 0) {videoEndSlateImpl.showEndSlateForContainer (); if (mobilePinnedView) {mobilePinnedView.disable ();}}}} callbackObj = {onPlayerReady: function (containerId) {var playerInstance, containerClassId = & # 39; # & # 39; + containerID; CNN.VideoPlayer.handleInitialExpandableVideoState (containerId); CNN.VideoPlayer.handleAdOnCVPVisibilityChange (containerId, CNN. 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Playing McIlroy for the first time at Holywood was already proof that Watson needed to know he was different.

"I just thought," Wow, "he added." He just hit the ball for someone so young and his swing was great. He definitely smoked this thing in the first hole and I thought & # 39; really? & # 39; He was very impressive. "

Irishman Shane O & # 39; Donoghue, a former golf presenter, commentator and host, was momentarily astonished when he first saw McIlroy in action in 2004.

" He had just turned 14 and was clearly very different, "O & # 39; Donoghue told CNN Sport." He looked like a little boy, but played with an exuberance that was very different. It was like watching a virtuoso. I baptized Mozart in Ireland very quickly, in terms of golf. "

Although McIlroy was well-known on the amateur circuit, he became more widely known as a happy, chubby 18-year-old at the Open Championship 2007 in Carnoustie, where he third came after the first round and the then 12-time big champion Woods did better with one shot.

READ: Woods & # 39; 10-year plan to surpass Jack NicklausREAD: Koepka puts & # 39; double-digit & # 39

Participating in the paid rows was like adding a spark to rocket fuel.

O & # 39; Donoghue has seen him grow from precocious talent to a global superstar based in Florida. with the huge mansion, fast cars & private jet.

"He was a nice, normal child. He hasn't changed, "O adds. & # 39; Donoghue." The circumstances around him have changed phenomenally and he has had to deal with all of this, but he is still the same Rory. At the heart of it, he is still the boy of Gerry and Rosie. "

Despite the fame, wealth and status of celebrities, the Holywood star is still very grounded with a close clique of school friends. When he saying goodbye to old caddy JP Fitzgerald in 2017, McIlroy turned to best mate Harry Diamond to carry the bag.

He had the same coach, former Holywood pro Michael Bannon, since he started the game with the use of & # 39; cut-down clubs & # 39 ;.

"As far as his personality is concerned, he hasn't changed a bit. He has never forgotten his roots and his friends have never forgotten," says Watson, thinks McIlroy has overshadowed the fame of legendary Manchester United footballer George Best.

He adds: "We had George Best, who was a global player the world famous and very famous sportswoman and Rory McIlroy is equal if not bigger than that.

"It's hard to describe how popular and famous he is here. He's huge, there's no bigger one."

McIlroy & # 39; s major breakthrough came with a record-breaking victory over the US Open in 2011, two months after he infamously threw a four-man lead with a back-nine collapse on the Masters.

"It was a sensational response," says O & # 39; Donoghue.

"He was approachable, accessible, attractive, CEO & # 39; s wanted to be close to him, children wanted to be like him, men wanted to be his friend and the woman wanted to give him or love him He just had the X factor. "

McIlroy added the American PGA title in 2012 and placed the Open in Hoylake, near Liverpool, England in 2014.

Not only that, but father Gerry was able to collect on a bet that he and three friends had closed in 2004 with a 500-1 blow that young Rory would win the Open "within the next 10 years."

They each earned £ 50,000.

A few weeks later, McIlroy added a second PGA Championship title and was the hottest possession in golf.

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But the great source has since dried up, a manifestation of a career punctuated more by bursts of brilliance than Woods' relentless domination in its heyday.

"He is a bit mercurial but that is part of his normality," says O & # 39; Donoghue. "He is not a robot, he is an artist.

" He will have down times, he will have the strange disaster, but my god, the highlights more than make up for it when he is on, he is otherwise class. "

Occasionally McIlroy's honesty or vice scared him.

In the 2011 Open at Royal St George & # 39; s, a struggling McIlroy told reporters: "I'm not a fan of golf tournaments so predicted by the weather, it's not my kind of golf. "

It was blunt and created a stir.

& # 39;); $ vidEndSlate.removeClass (& # 39; video__end-slate – inactive & # 39;) .addClass (& # 39; video__end -slate – active & # 39;);}}; CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true)? true: false; var configObj = {thumb: & # 39; none & # 39 ;, video: & # 39 ; tv / 2019/04/15 / sport-tiger-woods-1-on-1-intvw.cnn & # 39 ;, width: & # 39; 100% & # 39 ;, height: & # 39; 100% & # 39 ;, section: & # 39; domestic & # 39 ;, profile: & # 39; extension & # 39 ;, network: & # 39; cnn & # 39 ;, markupId: & # 39; body-text_72 & # 39 ;, theoplayer: {allowNativeFullscreen: true}, adsection: & # 39; cnn.com_worldsport_golf_i npage & # 39 ;, frameWidth: & # 39; 100% & # 39 ;, frameHeight: & # 39; 100% & # 39 ;, posterImageOverride: {"mini": {"width": 220, "type": "jpg", "uri": "// cdn.cnn. com / cnnnext / dam / power / 190414203723-tiger-green-jacket-small-169.jpg "" height ": 124}," xsmall ": {" width ": 307," type ":" jpg "," uri ":" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190414203723-tiger-green-jacket-medium-plus-169.jpg","height":173teit,"small":{"width ": 460, "type": "jpg", "uri": "// cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190414203723-tiger-green-jacket-large-169.jpg","height":259} , "medium": {"width": 780, "type": "jpg", "uri": "// cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190414203723-tiger-green-jacket-exlarge- 169 .jpg "" height ": 438}," large ": {" width ": 1100," type ":" jpg "," uri ":" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/ 190414203723- tiger-green-jacket-super-169.jpg "" height ": 619}," full16x9 ": {" width ": 1600," type ":" jpg "," uri ":" // cdn. cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190414203723-tiger-green-jacket-full-169.jpg","height":900teit,"mini1x1":{"width":120,"type":"jpg " , "uri": "// cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190414203723-tiger-green-jacket-s mall-11.jpg", "height": 120}}}, autoStartVideo = false, isVideoReplayClicked = false, callbackObj, containerEl, currentVideoCollection = [] currentVideoCollectionId = & # 39; & # 39 ;, isLivePlayer = false, mediaMetadataCallbacks, mobilePinnedView = null, moveToNextTimeout, mutePlayerEnabled = false, nextVideoId; nextVideoUrl = & # 39; & # 39 ;, turnOnFlashMessaging = false, videoPinner, videoEndSlateImpl; if (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === false) {autoStartVideo = false; if (autoStartVideo === true) {if (turnOnFlashMessaging === true) ) {autoStartVideo = false; containerEl = jQuery (document.getElementById (configObj.markupId)); CNN.VideoPlayer.showFlashSlate (containerEl);} else {CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = true;}}} configObj.autostart = CNN .Featureslayenlock false: autoS tartVideo; CNN.VideoPlayer.setPlayerProperties (configObj.markupId, autoStartVideo, isLivePlayer, isVideoReplayClicked, mutePlayerEnabled); CNN.VideoPlayer.setFirstVideoInCollection (currentVideoCollection, configObj.markupId); videoEndSlateImpl = new CNN.VideoEndSlate ('body-text_72'); function findNextVideo (currentVideoId) {var i, vidObj; if (currentVideoId && jQuery.isArray (currentVideoCollection) && currentVideoCollection.length> 0) {for (i = 0; i 0) {videoEndSlateImpl.showEndSlateForContainer (); if (mobilePinnedView) { mobilePinnedView.disable ();}}}} callbackObj = {onPlayerReady: function (containerId) {var playerInstance, containerClassId = '#' + containerId; CNN.VideoPlayer.handleInitialExpandableVideoState (containerId); CNN.VideoPlayer.handleAdOnCVPVisibilityChange (containerId, CNN. pageVis.isDocumentVisible ()); if (CNN.Features.enableMobileWebFloatingPlayer && Modernizr && (Modernizr.phone || Modernizr.mobile || Modernizr.tablet) && CNN.VideoPlayer.getLibraryName (containerId) === ' fave '&& jQuery (containerClassId) .ouders ('. js-pg-rail-tall__head '). length> 0 && CNN.contentModel.pageType ===' article ') {playerInstance = FAVE.player.getInstance (containerId); mobilePinnedView = nieuwe CNN.MobilePinnedView ({element: jQuery (containerClassId), ingeschakeld: false, overgang: CNN.MobileWebFloatingPlayer.transition, onPin: function () {playerInstance.hideUI ();}, onUnpin: function () {playerInstance.showUI () ;}, onPlayerClick: function () {if (mobilePinnedView) {playerInstance.enterFullscreen (); playerInstance.showUI ();}}, onDismiss: function () {CNN.Videx.mobile.pinnedPlayer.disable (); playerInstance.pause ();}}); / * Vastgezette weergave opslaan op CNN.Videx.mobile.pinnedPlayer Zodat alle spelers de enkele vastgezette speler kunnen zien * / CNN.Videx = CNN.Videx || {}; CNN.Videx.mobile = CNN.Videx.mobile || {}; CNN.Videx.mobile.pinnedPlayer = mobilePinnedView;} if (Modernizr &&! Modernizr.phone &&! Modernizr.mobile &&! Modernizr.tablet) {if (jQuery (containerClassId) .parents ('. Js-pg-rail -tall__head '). length) {videoPinner = nieuwe CNN.VideoPinner (containerClassId); videoPinner.init ();} else {CNN.VideoPlayer.hideThumbnail (containerId);}}}, onContentEntryLoad: function (containerId, playerId, contentid, isQueue) {CNN.VideoPlayer.showSpinner (containerId);}, onContentPause: function (containerId, playerId, videoId, paused) {if (mobilePinnedView) {CNN.VideoPlayer.handleMobilePinnedPlayerStates (containerId, paused);}}, onContentMetadata: function ( containerId, playerId, metadata, contentId, duration, width, height) {var endSlateLen = jQuery (document.getElementById (containerId)). parent (). find ('. js-video__end-slate'). eq (0) .length ; CNN.VideoSourceUtils.updateSource (containerId, metadata); if (endSlateLen> 0) {videoEndSlateImpl.fetchAndShowRecommendedVideos (metadata);}}, onAdPlay: function (containerId, cvpId, t oken, mode, id, duration, blockId, adType) {/* Dismissing the pinnedPlayer if another video players plays an Ad */CNN.VideoPlayer.dismissMobilePinnedPlayer(containerId);clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== 'undefined' && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);videoPinner.animateDown();}}},onAdPause: function (containerId, playerId, token, mode, id, duration, blockId, adType, instance, isAdPause) {if (mobilePinnedView) {CNN.VideoPlayer.handleMobilePinnedPlayerStates(containerId, isAdPause);}},onTrackingFullscreen: function (containerId, PlayerId, dataObj) {CNN.VideoPlayer.handleFullscreenChange(containerId, dataObj);if (mobilePinnedView &&typeof dataObj === 'object' &&FAVE.Utils.os === 'iOS ' && !dataObj.fullscreen) {jQuery(document).scrollTop(mobilePinnedView.getScrollPosition());playerInstance.hideUI();}},onContentPlay: function (co ntainerId, cvpId, event) {var playerInstance,prevVideoId;if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === 'function') {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout('restoreEpicAds');}clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== 'undefined' && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);videoPinner.animateDown();}}},onContentReplayRequest: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== 'undefined' && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);var $endSlate = jQuery(document.getElementById(containerId)).parent().find('.js-video__end-slate').eq(0); if ($endSlate.length > 0) {$endSlate.removeClass('video__end-slate–active').addClass('video__end-slate–inactive');}}}},onContentBegin: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (mo bilePinnedView) {mobilePinnedView.enable();}/* Dismissing the pinnedPlayer if another video players plays a video. */CNN.VideoPlayer.dismissMobilePinnedPlayer(containerId);CNN.VideoPlayer.mutePlayer(containerId);if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === 'function') {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout('removeEpicAds');}CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoSourceUtils.clearSource(containerId);jQuery(document).triggerVideoContentStarted();},onContentComplete: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === 'function') {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout('restoreFreewheel');}navigateToNextVideo(contentId, containerId);},onContentEnd: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== 'undefined' && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(false);}}},onCVPVisibilityChange: function (containerId, cvpId, visible) {CNN.VideoPlayer.ha ndleAdOnCVPVisibilityChange(containerId, visible);}};if (typeof configObj.context !== 'string' || configObj.context.length 0) {configObj.adsection = window.ssid;}CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;CNN.VideoPlayer.getLibrary(configObj, callbackObj, isLivePlayer);});CNN.INJECTOR.scriptComplete('videodemanddust');

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