Series of wins a unifying force

Rory McIlroy,winner of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Valhalla Golf Club on Sunday.  (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Rory McIlroy,winner of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Valhalla Golf Club on Sunday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Just weeks after greeting Open winner Rory McIlroy at Stormont Castle, Northern Ireland’s political leaders were again praising the Holywood golfer’s achievements.

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness hailed the homegrown talent as a “sporting sensation” and potentially the “golfer of his generation”.

In a joint statement, the first and deputy first ministers added: “We are incredibly proud to watch as he writes his story of golfing greatness and we look forward to the next chapter as these victories propel him towards being the golfer of his generation.”

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said the latest success would further boost tourism in the Province.

“By winning the US PGA, his second Major in just three weeks, Rory has taken another step towards greatness and has once again shown the world what is great about Northern Ireland golf.

“This will give golfers of all abilities even more reason to travel to Northern Ireland to find out for themselves what makes our golf courses the home of Major champions,” she said.

Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin praised McIlroy for his “dominant form” and added: “He is an extraordinary local sportsman who is playing his way into the history books.

“As he enjoys his latest tournament win, I wish him continued success in his quest for golf’s career grand slam.”

North Down MLA Gordon Dunne said he was “absolutely delighted” following Rory’s gutsy victory at Valhalla.

“Holywood is becoming used to major golfing success in recent years from our very own number one golfer in the world. There is a real sense of pride at this latest accolade, and I know how proud the people of Holywood and north Down are at Rory.

“Rory is a fantastic ambassador for Northern Ireland and a fantastic role model for young people right across the Province.”

The DUP representative added: “I have no doubt we can look forward to even more magical moments in the future from our very own golfing superstar.’

Ulster Unionist sports spokesman Michael McGimpsey said: “The whole of Northern Ireland will enjoy watching this 25-year-old write his own scripts in a fabulous future for many years to come.

“Rory’s talent is recognised on the world stage – he is the world number one, he is one of the most popular golfers on the circuit, a credit to his family and a great ambassador for Northern Ireland.”

Karen McKevitt of the SDLP said: “This win once again confirms that Northern Ireland is the new home of golf and the home of champions.”