McIlroy says yes to Australia but no to Vegemite

Double Major winning Rory McIlroy confessed he likes the Australian meat pies but hates the taste of vegemite.

His favourite Australian actor is Russell Crowe and he greatly admires Greg Norman even more in the manner the fellow two time Major Champion has made the transition into a successful businessman.

Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy (Credit: Anthony Powter)

McIlroy said he also enjoys travelling to Sydney as this week is his second visit this year for Thursday’s starting Australian Open at Royal Sydney.

But what McIlroy would like more than anything would be to leave the harbour side city as the first Irishman and only the second European in 104 years to have captured the Australian Open.

“I don’t mind the meat pies but just can’t get used to vegemite, so it’s definitely an Australian acquired taste,” he said smiling.

“Russell Crowe’s always been my favourite Australian actor and my favourite all-time Australian golfer is Greg Norman.

“Being a multiple Major winner and a former World Number One, The Great White Shark will forever be remembered in the game.

“Aside from his great golfing achievements, Greg is a hugely successful businessman off the course. Not many golfers have successfully made that transition.

“I know Greg also has won the Australian Open many times and that is my goal this week.

“So to win the Australian Open would be huge for me. It would stamp my place in the history books of the Australian Open alongside people like Greg, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and so many other great players.

“And following in their footsteps would never be a bad thing.”

It will be the first time McIlroy has competed in an Australian Open since 2006 when he was also at Royal Sydney competing as an amateur but in a week when he averaged 76 over the four rounds and finished in a distant share of 51st place.

However after some recent good results that included sixth in the BMW Masters in Shanghai and fifth in the European Tour season-ending DP World Tour Championship, McIlroy is quietly confident of winning his first tournament of the season.

“I came away from both tournaments a bit disappointed but when you’re getting to push to that level, or that stage, and you’re disappointed walking away with pretty decent finishes, you know that you’re on the right track,” he said.

“I’ve got this week’s Australian Open and then Tiger’s event next week in L A, so it would be great to finish the year with a win.”

McIlroy revealed he been awake at 4am on Monday morning (Syd time) to check the scores in the Rugby Test between Ireland and the All Blacks at Lansdowne Road in Dublin.

The Ireland side were just seconds away from their first victory in 104-years before being overrun by the might of the All Blacks.

“I can’t imagine what that must have been like, after 104 years,” said McIlroy.

“I just cried myself to sleep after that (smiling).”

Yesterday McIlroy played just a 12-hole practice round in the bright but very windy conditions with 15-year old Australian Ryan Ruffles.

Ruffles is the son of champion Australian tennis player Ray Ruffles.

While he first began following in the footsteps of his father it was double Major winning Mark O’Meara who helped steer the youngster into golf when he gave the young Aussie a cut down club while practicing one day on the Isleworth range.

But after caddying for Adam Scott in last week’s World Cup of Golf Pro-Am in Melbourne he teamed-up with McIlroy today.

“Rory was great and gave me a few tips, and as I’m living over in Florida with my family he gave me his phone number and said to call him any time I wanted to play a practice round with him, so that was pretty cool of Rory,” said Ruffles.