A closer look inside McIlroy's world

Thursday November 3rd, 2011
McIlroy is surrounded by an expanding inner circle.
Sean McCabe

INNER CIRCLE
1. Gerry & Rose McIlroy
Rory’s dad introduced him to golf at 21 months, caddying for him
until he was 17. Mom worked the night shift at the 3M factory to
help fund her son’s rise. “They never pushed me at all,” Rory said.
2. Colm McIlroy
Rory’s uncle is a 3 handicap and former club champ at
Holywood. When Rory was 19, Colm won £1,400 when he bet
(correctly) that Rory would win the Dubai Desert Classic.
3. Fergus McIlroy
The next Rory? Fergus hopes so. Rory’s 12-year-old
cousin is a golf nut with an eye for the game. During
this year’s Masters, Fergus told a Belfast TV
station, “Rory’s got to work hard on his putting.”
4. theo & gus
Rory’s beloved dogs. Theo (pictured) is a
Labradoodle; Gus is a cocker spaniel.
5. Caroline Wozniacki
McIlroy’s famous girlfriend also makes
a living hitting lob shots and chasing
majors—the tennis kind. “It’s nice to
have someone that...understands what
you’re going through,” McIlroy said.
6. Holly Sweeney
She may be his ex, but as McIlroy once
noted, “She knows me basically better
than anyone in the world does.”

ASSOCIATES
1. Stuart Cage
A former pro on the European Tour, Cage refers
to himself as McIlroy’s “sandwich maker,” which
means he assists McIlroy with everything from
media requests to, well, making sandwiches.
2. J.P. Fitzgerald
McIlroy’s looper. When TV analyst Jay Townsend ripped
Fitzgerald for McIlroy’s “shocking” course management at
the 2011 Irish Open, McIlroy quickly defended his man: “He
has taken me from 200 in the world to major champion.”
3. Shane McMahon
The former WWE exec was the first person to console McIlroy behind
the 18th green after McIlroy’s Masters collapse, and, at Congressional,
McMahon strolled the grounds with Rory’s dad. What gives? McMahon
sits on the board of International Sports Management, Chandler’s agency.
4. Wally UIihlein
The chief of Acushnet, Titleist’s parent company, has known about McIlroy’s
prodigious talents since Rory and Uihlein’s son, Peter, competed against one
another as kids. It’s no wonder Rory ended up a Titleist man.

FRIENDS
1. Harry Diamond, Rick McCormick and Mitchell Tw eedie
McIlroy’s longtime buds—they grew up playing Holywood together—shared
a house with McIlroy at the 2011 Masters and were credited for keeping him
loose that week. Diamond (pictured) caddied for McIlroy in the Par 3 Contest.
2. Graeme McDowell
At the 2011 Masters, G-Mac dropped Rors a text. “He told me he loved me,”
McIlroy said. “I don’t know if that was the beer talking or him.”
3. Lee Westwood
Stablemates at ISM, Westwood and McIlroy revel in roasting each
other. When McIlroy sent Wozniacki a supportive tweet after her
loss in the 2011 U.S. Open, Westwood tweeted: “All the lads in
the clubhouse are passing the sick bucket around Rors!”
4. Rafael Nadal
Tiger had Federer. Rory has Rafa. “Rory is an
inspiration,” Nadal said after McIlroy’s U.S. Open
win. An equally smitten McIlroy gushed of Rafa:
“I’d like to become a little more like him.”
5. Scott Pinckney
When Rory was 11, he spent three months in Utah
with Pinckney and his family, learning how to travel
and play in the States. (Pinckney went on to star at
Arizona State and now plays pro golf in Europe.)
6. LeBron James
When King James was slammed for his
underwhelming performance in the 2011 NBA
Finals, McIlroy had his Twitter buddy’s back,
tweeting, “Everyone is going to have bad days…”

MENTORS AND IDOLS
1. Jack Nicklaus
At the 2010 Honda Classic, Nicklaus invited
McIlroy to lunch. Over 90 minutes, the Golden
Bear educated Rory on the fine art of winning
majors. “An unbelievable experience,” McIlroy said.
2. Tiger Woods
Growing up, Rory idolized Woods, committing to memory
a deep trove of Tiger trivia. Though McIlroy has since
tempered his adulation, the Irishman still admires Woods’s
approach to the game. At the 2011 U.S. Open, McIlroy said he
was trying to play with “the same intensity that [Tiger] has.”
3. Michael Bannon
McIlroy’s lifelong coach began working with Rory when he was four
years old, dispensing swing tips along with life lessons. Bannon, who
now teaches at Bangor G.C., five miles from Holywood, once said, “I
reckon all the work on his swing was done by the time he was 14.”
4. Nick Faldo
As a kid, Rory used to mimic Sir Nick’s swing, and he signed his signature as
“Rory ‘Nick Faldo’ McIlroy.” Rory went on to win three tournaments in Faldo’s global
golf development series. The two have remained friendly, on and off the course.
5. Darren Clarke
If McIlroy is Skywalker, Clarke is his Yoda. The pair had a heart-to-heart at this year’s British
Open, where McIlroy was roasted for whining about the tough conditions. Said Clarke,
“Maybe a little bit of direction from his old mentor will point him in the right direction.”

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