Northern Ireland

Rory McIlroy's joy at US Open trophy return to Holywood

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Media captionRory McIlroy speaking from Holywood

Northern Ireland golfer Rory McIlroy has spoken of his joy at bringing the US Open trophy back to his home club.

A large crowd was at McIlroy's home club in Holywood, County Down, to greet the 22-year-old who broke a series of records on his way to a first major title.

He said returning with the US Open trophy was "a special moment".

McIlroy's eight-shot victory on Sunday made him the youngest winner of the event since 1923.

His success followed that of his compatriot, Graeme McDowell, who clinched the US Open title last year.

McIlroy said:"To come back to the club I spent every day at for the first 20 years of my life brings back a lot of good memories.

"To come back with this trophy is very special and hopefully it is not the last Major I come back with."

The new world number four said he was "very aware" that he was now "going to be portrayed as a role model for a lot of young people in Northern Ireland and across the world".

"I know there will be a lot of expectations on me, a lot of pressure, but hopefully I am well enough equipped to deal with that," he said.

George Best

"I have to be very careful in what I say and do."

He also played down suggestions that he was the golfing equivalent of fellow countryman and football superstar George Best in terms of talent.

"George Best was an absolute hero back in the 1960s and 1970s," he said.

"If I am as good on the golf course as George Best was on a football pitch then I will be very happy."

McIlroy has been congratulated by several leading figures in the sporting world including tennis stars Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray following his US Open triumph.

He confirmed he would be in the Royal Box at Wimbledon on Tuesday to watch both players.

"Hopefully I will also get back at the weekend for the semi-final and final," he added.

The BBC learned on Wednesday that as a child at the Holywood club, McIlroy had cheekily signed a golf card "Rory McIlroy, US Open Champion".

"I have always been a big dreamer, I have always had very high hopes and expectations," he said.

McIlroy also said he felt Royal Portrush and Royal County Down golf clubs were capable of hosting the Open in the future, but that the region needed 10 years to put the appropriate infrastructure in place.

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