Having signed a £150m contract with Nike earlier this year, Rory McIlroy probably is too financially damaged by missing the cut at The Open. His dad, however, lost out on £200,000.
It seems that behind every youthful, modern, sporting prodigy is a pushy parent, driving their child to success more for personal satisfaction than pride. In the case of Rory McIlroy however, his dad appears to have been his biggest fan and an admirable father throughout his son’s career. That may have changed Friday after Rory missed the cut at The Open.
Despite entering the event 20/1 to win, and on the back of two recent major victories, Rory’s game evaded him as he stumbled home to a 36-hole total of 12-over par, the single worst major performance of his young career.
He admitted to being “brain-dead” and “unconscious” following his first round 79, and has said he will “play through” his recent dip in form.
Despite all his evident disappointment, his father may be the one holding his head in his hands, concerning a bet he placed on his son eight years ago.
Back in 2005, Rory was a talented 15-year old amateur, a recent member of the 2004 Junior Ryder Cup team and the youngest-ever winner of both the West of Ireland and Irish Close Championships. It would be natural for any father in Gerry McIlroy’s position to be proud of his son’s success.
However Gerry, and his friends, decided to put their money where their mouth was.
Gerry and three of his close friends each placed £100 in a wager on Rory’s future success. They bet £400 that Rory would win The Open Championship before he turned 25. The bookie gave them odds of 500/1.
Meaning that if he lifted the claret jug before his 25th birthday, the four men would cash in on £200,000.
Rory McIlroy was born on May 4th, 1989.
Quick arithmetic would tell you that to cash on their bet, Gerry and his friends required Rory to win The Open no later than… 2013.
Whilst Rory shot a major-low 63 to open the 2010 Open, he was unable to capitalise on it and ultimately finished 3rd. Other than than, he has never finished inside the top-20 of golf’s oldest major, continuing that trend this week with his worst Open performance.
Whether the bet had something to do with Rory’s performance is unlikely, but you can be sure that whilst Rory is concentrating on his next event, his Dad and 3 mates are probably still drowning their sorrows.
So whilst you, or someone you know, may lose out on 10, 100 or even £1000 at this year’s Open, spare a thought for a Gerry and his mates, who bid farewell to their chances of winning £200,000.