Northern Ireland

Rory McIlroy's uncle's tears of joy at nephew's US win

Rory McIlroy celebrates his US Open win with his father Gerry
Image caption Rory McIlroy celebrates with his father Gerry after his US Open title win

Rory McIlroy's uncle says tears of disappointment have been replaced with tears of joy following the Northern Ireland golfer's triumph at the US Open.

Colm McIlroy had seen his nephew commit sporting suicide in front of millions after leading from the front at the Masters in Augusta in April.

Then, the County Down player dropped six shots in three holes on the back nine on his way to an eight-over-par 80, as South African Charl Schwartzel claimed the main prize.

But there was to be no repeat on Sunday, as the 22-year-old broke a host of records to clinch his first major title at the Congressional Country Club in Maryland.

Mr McIlroy watched Rory's trumph along with hundreds of others on television at the golfer's home club in Holywood, County Down, on Sunday night.

He said his nephew had "learnt quickly from his mistakes" at the Masters.

"His preparation was better, his course management was unbelievable," he said.

"He has so much self-belief and he just went out and played all the right shots.

"The field he was playing in were just spectators at the end of the day.

"It was very emotional and very exciting, there were a few tears shed.

"It is hard to sink in at the moment.

"We always knew Rory had great potential and the manner in which he came back from the Masters was so good."

As a youngster, Rory honed his skills on an all-weather golf surface outside the family's semi-detached house in Holywood.

His early promise was highlighted as a nine-year-old when he won a world title for his age group in Florida.

Mr McIlroy paid tribute to the sacrifices the US Open winner's parents had made to ensure their son fulfilled his potential.

"He (Rory) has been good from a very young age," he said.

"He has played tournaments from under the age of nine.

"His amateur career has been brilliant, he has won everything you can as an amateur.

"Rory's dad Gerry and his wife Rosie have made sacrifices.

"Gerry had a couple of jobs at one stage while Rosie was working night shift.

"From an early age Rory used to hit plastic golf balls up and down the mixed lounge at Holywood Golf Club."

Rory's uncle said he was now looking forward to catching up with his nephew for a family celebration when he returned to Northern Ireland later this week.

"It will be great to see him and we will be looking for some stories from him as to how he did it and held his nerve," Mr McIlroy added.

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