McIlroy returns to his roots at Holywood

Rory McIlroy returned to his roots and his beloved Holywood club hoping to rekindle his winning ways.

After missing the cut in last fortnight’s British Open at Muirfield, McIlroy got in contact with three of his closest mates – Harry Diamond, Ricky McCormick and Mitchell Tweedie.

Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy (Credit: Anthony Powter)

The four headed out late last week playing a number of courses including his beloved Holywood where McCormick in now the resident pro.

McIlroy birdied the closing seven holes on the course where the clubhouse trophy room is a shrine to the now 24-year old world number three.

“It was something I had not done for a long time and maybe it’s something I should do more often because it was needed,” said McIlroy.

“They had come to join me in Florida earlier this year before Quail Hollow and the Players Championship so that kind of worked as I played pretty good those two weeks as I had a chance to win again at Quail Hollow and then had a top-10 at the Players.

“So I just wanted to go back to Northern Ireland a play a little bit. I did some work with Michael (Bannon – coach) but it was just nice to go out and play with them for the sake of playing and not play as you have to.”

“So we played some courses I played when I was growing up, and I was seven-under for the last seven holes at Holywood.”

“Playing with them makes you realise why you play the game and why you started and that’s because you love the game and when you are younger, you would do anything you can to get out onto a golf course.

“So it was just great to go out and play with friends I have grown up with and makes you realise why you play this game.”

There has been much written on McIlroy’s life that has changed dramatically since he had last played for fun alongside Diamond, McCormick and Tweedie.

And while he has just one week remaining before defending next week’s PGA Championship at Oakhill in upper New York State, it was at this week’s WGC – Bridgestone Invitational a year ago that turned McIlroy’s game for the better.

A year ago, McIlroy met with former US Ryder Cup captain, Dave Stockton who somewhat took McIlroy to task for his poor on-course body language.

Then a week later, McIlroy went to Kiawah Island where Stockton had led the US Team to success in the ‘War on the Shore’ to capture a second Major Championship by a remarkable eight shots.

McIlroy met with Stockton earlier this week and it was much the same message dealing with McIlroy’s on-course attitude.

“Attitude, and it’s the same thing that Dave said to me last year that I’m trying to do again as if someone’s watching you from the outside, and that’s don’t let them know whether you’ve made a birdie or a bogey,” said McIlroy.

“It shouldn’t matter. That’s something that I’ve become a little bit too emotionally involved with my golf over the past few months.”

“I’ve let it either get me excited or get me down, where I should really just not get too high or too low about it at all.”