Rory McIlroy, MBE (born 4 May 1989) is a Northern Irish professional golfer from Holywood in County Down. The current number two in the Official World Golf Rankings, has represented Europe, Great Britain & Ireland, and Ireland as both an amateur and a professional. He had a successful amateur career, topping the World Amateur Golf Ranking for one week as a 17-year-old in 2007. Later that year he turned professional and soon established himself on the European Tour. He had his first win on the European Tour in 2009, and on the PGA Tour in 2010. He represented Europe in the 2010 Ryder Cup.
On 19 June 2011, he won the U.S. Open, his first major. He finished with a record score of 16-under-par on his way to an eight-shot victory, as the youngest winner since Bobby Jones in 1923. He has been cited as the most exciting young prospect in golf and having the potential to become one of the highest earners in sports in terms of endorsements. The victory lifted McIlroy's position in the Official World Golf Ranking to a career high of number four. In November, he finished tied for 4th at the WGC-HSBC Champions to move to a new career high of number 2. On 4 March 2012, McIlroy won the Honda Classic, which propelled him to number one in the world rankings. Two weeks later, he fell to number two following Luke Donald's win at the Transitions Championship.
McIlroy was born in Holywood, County Down, Northern Ireland. He is the only child of Gerry and Rosie (née McDonald) McIlroy; he attended St. Patrick's Primary School and then Sullivan Upper School.
He was introduced to golf at an exceptionally young age by his father, who coached him from at least the age of 18 months.
McIlroy at age 15 was a member of Europe's winning 2004 Junior Ryder Cup team; the event was held in Ohio. In 2005 he became the youngest-ever winner of both the West of Ireland Championship and the Irish Close Championship. He retained the West of Ireland Championship in 2006 and followed that up with back-to-back wins at the Irish Close Championship. In August 2006, he won the European Amateur at Biella Golf Club, near Milan, Italy with the score of 274.
McIlroy self-identifies as both British and Irish, and carries a British passport. When in Northern Ireland, he lives in a £2.2 million home near the town of Carryduff in County Down, about 20 minutes from Belfast. The land around his house also includes a custom-made practice facility, as well as a scaled-down football pitch.
He is an Ambassador for UNICEF Ireland and made his first visit to Haiti with UNICEF in June 2011.
His great uncle Joe McIlroy was murdered by the Ulster Volunteer Force at his east Belfast home in November 1972. As of 2011 he has been in a relationship with Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki.
McIlroy is also a Manchester United football supporter, admitting in an interview with the club website that "they create good football when they needed to down the years".
McIlroy was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to sport.
McIlroy employs the interlocking grip on full shots; this same somewhat rare method is used by Tiger Woods, the dominant star golfer of McIlroy's youthful years. Previous great champions who have used this grip included Jack Nicklaus, Tom Kite, John Daly, Gene Sarazen, Francis Ouimet, and Willie Anderson.