There was no doubt that Rory McIlroy was the apple of his mother’s eye yesterday after he beckoned her towards him moments after scooping the 143rd Open Championship.
Immediately after shaking hands with fellow competitors Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler he waved his tearful mother Rosie to him on the 18th green for a heartfelt hug as millions of golf fans around the world looked on.
His father Gerry was not far behind her.
Later during the presentation ceremony Rory also paid tribute to his mother.
“This is the first major my mum (Rosie) has been to that I’ve won, so mum, this one’s for you,” he said.
The former world number one also praised the efforts of Fowler and Garcia, adding: “Well done for putting up such a fight, Rickie, no doubt with the way your major record is this year your time will come, and Sergio too....two of the best players in the world.”
He also thanked his friends and family, adding: “I just can’t wait to get back and defend this thing at St Andrews next year.”
And while Rory may have won £975,000 with his victory at Royal Liverpool, his father has another reason to celebrate.
Ten years ago 25-year-old Rory’s dad Gerry and three friends each placed a £100 bet at odds of 500/1 that his son would become Open champion before he turned 26.
That means a windfall of £200,000 in total for the quartet now that McIlroy has collected the third major title of his career at the 143rd Open Championship.
Among the large crowd watching the thrilling final round on the big screen at Holywood Golf Club were John Williams and wife Elaine.
They were delighted to see Gerry and Rosie appear in the television footage and said the whole family deserved to revel in Rory’s achievements.
“The success couldn’t come to a nicer family,” John said. “His father Gerry was a barman here and is the nicest man you could meet. The whole family are lovely.
“Rory has the ability to go on to win a major and yet he is just a lovely, genuine guy from a really great family.
Elaine added: “Everyone in Holywood is absolutely delighted for them. We know them all and the family are just so down to earth.
“You heard the reception for Gerry when he appeared on the TV - that shows what everyone thinks of him.
“And we all know about the bet Gerry and some of the others had on Rory to win the Open, but unfortunately I wasn’t in on that one.”