Golfer Rory McIlroy’s £2 million Northern Ireland home has been sold, it was revealed today.
The identity of the buyer and details of the sale price have not been disclosed, but the luxury five-bedroom property in the countryside outside Belfast has a new owner.
As the world number one prepared for his next tournament in the United States after sensationally walking out at last week’s Honda Classic, estate agent Michael Rodgers confirmed McIlroy no longer has a permanent address on this side of the Atlantic.
He bought a palatial new 10.9 million dollar (£7.24 million) house with its own private dock in Palm Beach Gardens, south Florida late last year, and it is expected that he will stay with his parents at their home in Holywood, outside Belfast, whenever he returns to Northern Ireland.
Personal belongings, including artwork and memorabilia, are being cleared out of the house at Moneyreagh, Co Down, in advance of the new owner moving in after next month’s US Masters at Augusta National.
McIlroy bought the five-bedroom house with its own practice area, driving range and putting green in 2009, but has not been back since the Irish Open at Royal Portrush last summer when it was already clear he was planning to settle somewhere else in the aftermath of his developing relationship with the tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
Mr Rodgers, a senior partner with the Holywood firm, Rodgers & Browne, said there had been worldwide interest, especially in the UK and America. He said: “It is without doubt a stunning property, the sort of place anyone would be happy to show off as well as to entertain family and friends.
“The fact that Rory McIlroy owns it did not, I think, have any real bearing. People who came to inspect the house for themselves were more interested in the style of the property and what it had to offer. It is striking and contemporary and the grounds are something else.
“It is no secret the market has struggled in recent years, here and in places like the North of England. Prices are not what they used to be, but I think Rory is particularly pleased with the result of this sale.
“Both sides are satisfied. It is our understanding the golf facility is being retained.”
Even though McIlroy, 23, has been more or less away from the house for more than 18 months, he still has a full-time greenkeeper to look after six acres of gardens as well as the huge practice area where he prepared for many of his tournament triumphs.
He has won two major championships: the 2011 US Open at Congressional, Maryland, and last year’s US PGA at Kiawah Island.
There are four greens, two with US PGA standard bent grass and two with fescue grass similar to those which players putt on while competing on the European tour.
Barry Kavanagh, 31, from Dublin, who is employed by the Wicklow-based Turf Grass company, has been cutting greens and raking the bunkers - one is modelled on the famous 17th road-hole on the Old Course at St Andrews - since July 2010, when McIlroy decided he wanted a practise area on his own doorstep.
He said today: “It does not get much better than working for the game’s number one player. He has been unbelievable to work with, just like his father Gerry, and indeed the entire McIlroy family - Rory, his dad and his friends have all been here, but there has been absolutely no pressure on me.
“I could stay in my bed until 12 o’clock every day and probably no-one would notice. But I’m up at the crack of dawn getting on with it. There is so much work to attend too. It is a special place.
“Rory McIlroy and his family put so much faith in me and I’d like to think I’ve been repaying them. It is such a fabulous set-up.”