Rory McIlroy: Roy Keane refusing to sign an autograph has stayed with him

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Dunhill Links: McIlroy aims to finish on a high

Rory McIlroy remembers the day Roy Keane refused to give him an autograph.

And that is why the four-time major champion is determined to not leave any of his fans disappointed when they ask for a signature.

Northern Irishman McIlroy made a young fan's day at last week's British Masters by handing over his golf ball.

It is a moment the child will remember for years... just as the golfer remembers the time he spotted former Manchester United captain Keane while on international duty with Ireland.

"I went and asked him for his autograph at the Portmarnock Links Hotel and he said 'no'. I'm sure he's alright, but it sort of stuck with me ever since," said McIlroy, speaking before the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Fife.

"I've had it go the other way, where I've asked someone for an autograph as a kid and they didn't give it to me and I've never liked them since. So if a kid asks me for an autograph, I always try to do it."

The former world number one, who plays his first round at the Old Course in St Andrews on Thursday, said he goes through between six and nine balls per round.

"Every time I need a new one I look for a young kid in the crowd between holes to give it to them," the 28-year-old said.

"I was surprised how that little moment last week became so big. But it just shows what such a small thing to me can mean to a kid, and that kid might be inspired to go and play."

Asked whether he would oblige if Keane ever asked him for his autograph, McIlroy said: "Only if he gives me his..."

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