It’s tempting to think that if Rory McIlroy doesn’t play particularly well in the Dunhill Links Championship this week, he’ll be sent to bed with no supper by his dad.

Or at least without his beluga-albino caviar and bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, or whatever it is that multi-millionaires dine on in the Old Course Hotel.

The McIlroy father and son duo are joining forces again here on Scottish soil in a format which always provides scope for some sentimental meanderings down memory lane.

Rory’s dad, Gerry, turns 60 next week, and the gift of an appearance in the Dunhill Links over three celebrated links courses from his superstar son has been gratefully received.


“I said to him, ‘what do you want for your birthday?’ and he said, ‘I’d love to play the Dunhill one more time’,” said McIlroy, the

four-time major winner. “So this is his present, his last hurrah.

“My earliest memories of golf with my dad are going back to when I was four or five and wanting to play 18 holes with him. He said, ‘are you sure?’

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“He said, ‘it’s a long time out there, you’re going to get tired’. I’d get through nine holes and then I’d get halfway up the hill on the 10th with my bag and he’d take it off me, put it on his bag and carry the two up the hill.

“We have so many great memories on the golf course. I do remember the first time I beat him too. It was a bit of a weird feeling, almost like a guilty feeling; like I don’t really want to beat him.”

From the cut-throat, week-to-week, individual battlegrounds of the tour, the team aspect of the Dunhill Links Championship can underline one of the great strengths of this game for all the ages.

“The fact dad and myself can go out and play the oldest course in the world together in a big event makes it special,” said McIlroy, who admitted he would rather win the team event with his old man than be runner-up in the individual contest this week.

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“It’s not as if Neymar [Brazilian footballer] can go out and play football at that level with his dad. Dad’s in heaven this week, which is great.”

On that team element, McIlroy added: “My first two Ryder Cups, I struggled to deal with the fact I wasn’t just playing for myself. There’s something more important than you.

“And here, if dad is out of the hole and I’m over a four-foot putt for par, then there’s that extra pressure as you are trying not to let the team lose a shot.”