Cole’s Notes: McIlroy wins one for his dad

 

 
 
 
 
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland kisses the Claret Jug trophy in front of the media after winning the British Open Golf championship at the Royal Liverpool golf club, Hoylake, England, Sunday July 20, 2014.
 

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland kisses the Claret Jug trophy in front of the media after winning the British Open Golf championship at the Royal Liverpool golf club, Hoylake, England, Sunday July 20, 2014.

Photograph by: Jon Super, AP

Hoylake, England

THERE YOU GO, DAD: Not that Rory McIlroy’s stardom wasn’t predicted, but his father put his money where his mouth was.

According to the BBC’s Andrew Cotter, 10 years ago Gerry McIlroy and three friends made a legal bet of 400 British pounds (100 each, equivalent to $183.40 Canadian) at odds of 500/1 that the then-15-year-old would win the Open by age 25, i.e., before he turns 26.

McIlroy was 25 years, 2 months and 16 days old Sunday, meaning each of the wagerers should collect 50,000 pounds ($91,700).

“Honestly, that 50 grand that he’s going to win is … I mean, the other three friends that he did that with, they’re going to be very happy,” McIlroy said Sunday evening. “He’s never reminded me. I knew that he’d done it. I’m not sure if it will pay out. If it does, it’s a nice little bonus.”

EYES ARE SMILING: McIlroy’s victory made it, incredibly, five wins for Northern Ireland players in the last 19, dating back to the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach: three by McIlroy, one each by Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke. Not bad for a country with a population of 1.8 million.

Throw in three by Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, back-to-back Open wins in 2007 and 2008 and his ’08 PGA title, and …

“It’s the golden generation,” said McDowell, as McIlroy was a couple of holes away from finishing. “Eight major championships. We’re assuming he’s getting this done, here. Listen, s--t happens. But eight major championships. It’s added something to the pot. With the Open Championship announcement (for Royal Portrush in 2019), and if Rory gets it done here today, it’s pretty exciting times.”

TAKE A HIKE: McIlroy was in the middle of his tee shot at the par-five 16th when a disturbance behind him made him turn and scowl, though his drive went long and straight.

He pointed to the offending spectator, and police hauled him away.

“He was giving me grief all day, actually. And I sort of put up with it for the first 15 holes, and then he deliberately coughed on my downswing on the 16th tee. I still hit a great drive. But I heard it halfway down and I knew who it was,” McIlroy said. “So I turned around and got him chucked out, thankfully.”

OVER TO YOU, TOM: After the applause died down from his closing 68 Sunday, Tom Watson had to field questions about the fellow he beat by seven shots in the final round of the Open Championship. Some fella named Tiger.

Woods didn’t do himself a lot of good in his campaign to be a captain’s pick on Watson’s Ryder Cup team, finishing 69th among the 72 players who made the cut.

Watson, at age 64, was five strokes better than Woods on the week.

“It’s just one day. It’s a snapshot. It’s not a big deal,” Watson said of Tiger’s 75. He said he definitely is not going to automatically pick Woods or Phil Mickelson, who at least showed some life Sunday shooting 68 to finish five-under-par.

But that talk Watson was going to have with Woods this week?

“I just said hello. We’re going to talk on the phone. Again, it’s a little bit early with Tiger to even talk to as far as where he is. Where it needs to be is higher up on the list.”

REHAB CONTINUES: Woods, who had said that nothing less than victory here would be acceptable, admitted he anticipated being rusty, “but I just thought that, I know how to play links golf, I know how to grind it on these golf courses, and … I thought I could get around here.”

THAT OTHER T.W.: Watson’s performance here sets him up nicely for next week’s Senior Open Championship at Royal Porthcawl, Wales.

“I don’t know anything about the golf course, but it’s fun to finish with a birdie and finish the way I did, and get ready to go to the next tournament,” he said. “You feel lighter. You don’t feel heavy. You don’t feel like you have a burden that you’re taking with you. Keep it running, keep the engine running, if you can. Wake up every morning not in too much pain and go from there.”

SOON, NOT YET: Rickie Fowler was asked whether McIlroy’s third major and his own strong play here and in the U.S. Open signals a changing of the guard atop world golf.

“I mean, we’ve been here for a few years. Rory is obviously doing well with three majors now. I definitely have some catching up to do,” he said. “As far as changing of the guard, I don’t see Tiger and Phil and some of those guys running off anywhere. We’re ready to go to battle against them, though.”

ccole@vancouversun.com

 
 
 
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Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland kisses the Claret Jug trophy in front of the media after winning the British Open Golf championship at the Royal Liverpool golf club, Hoylake, England, Sunday July 20, 2014.
 

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland kisses the Claret Jug trophy in front of the media after winning the British Open Golf championship at the Royal Liverpool golf club, Hoylake, England, Sunday July 20, 2014.

Photograph by: Jon Super, AP

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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