BELFAST, Northern Ireland – He has been at his side for all three of Rory McIlroy’s major wins, but Sunday’s British Open triumph may well have been the sweetest yet for the Northern Irishman’s father Gerry.
McIlroy’s three-stroke victory at Hoylake ensured a wager placed by his dad a decade ago finally came to fruition.
While working as a bar steward in Belfast in 2004, McIlroy senior placed a £200 ($340) bet, at odds of 500/1, with British bookmakers Ladbrokes that his 15-year-old son would win the British Open before he turned 26.
And on Sunday, in the final edition of the tournament before the bet expired, a 25-year-old Rory rewarded his father’s confidence by making him £100,000 ($170,000) richer.
The new world No. 2 also cost Ladbrokes a further £80,000 ($136,000) in similar bets placed by Gerry’s friends.
According to British newspaper The Guardian, they placed £200, at odds of 250/1, that Rory would win the British Open within 10 years. Another £100 ($170) was laid on at 150/1 that he would lift the Claret Jug before turning 50.
Rory also secured some cash off the back of a bet placed over the weekend, earning £20 ($34) off Darren Clark after beating his compatriot during a practice round on Wednesday.
He secured his third major — following the U.S. Open in 2011 and U.S. PGA Championship in 2012 — with a two-shot victory ahead of Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler.
The Northern Irishman is the third player, after Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, to win three majors by the age of 25, while he is just a Masters victory away from completing a career grand slam of golf’s top honors.
Gerry, a regular at his son’s tournaments, is a director of Rory McIlroy Inc — a company created to run Rory’s affairs following his split from the Horizon group.
He embraced his son on the 18th green after he landed the 2012 U.S. PGA Championship on Father’s Day, the second major triumph of his career.