Rory McIlroy, from Holywood in Co Down, is one of the best golfers in the history of the game.
He has held the number one ranking, something that few people can claim, but much more than that, he has won three of the four majors.
Rory was aged a mere 22 when he became one of the youngest ever major winners, with his victory at the US Open.
The following year he won the US PGA, which he won again in 2014. And then that same year, he collected the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.
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It was a truly astonishing tally for a sportsman who was then still only aged 25. It also cemented Northern Ireland as a golfing superpower — not only home to numerous fine golf clubs including two of the best in the world, Royal Portrush and Royal Co Down, but also to three recent major winners, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke as well as Rory.
England, a country with 30 times the population of NI, has never had three major golfing winners in such a limited period of time. If Rory McIlroy’s career had come to an end in 2014, it would still have been a glittering one.
But we have all been hoping that he can go a step further, and win the one major title that has so far eluded him — the prestigious Masters at Augusta. That would be a truly astonishing feat, and put him up in a select group of currently only five players, including the greatest names in the history of the sport — Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
Rory almost did it yesterday, coming second at the Masters to the US golfer Scottie Scheffler. But what an achievement! Rory has been one of the few players to challenge American dominance of the majors in the last decade.
His second place yesterday comes after years in which he rarely seemed to be within reach of the very top.
Rory is a testament to dedication and perseverance, an inspiration to young people, and a fine ambassador for Northern Ireland.
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