Since Rory McIlroy's rise to golfing prominence, especially during his recent romp at the U.S. Open at Congressional, the public has been told over and over about what a nice kid he is and that he was a prodigy growing up in Northern Ireland. This video provides evidence of both:
The footage shows an adorable McIlroy, minus the long, curly hair and with far fewer freckles, as a guest on The Kelly Show in January of 1999. McIlroy hadn't even turned 10 yet, but he already showed signs that he would be a good interview and an even better player, though it takes him a few attempts to chip a whiffle golf ball off a rug and into a washing machine.
(Related: Golf's All-Time Biggest Phenoms)
Go back a little further and there's this BBC News clip from 1998 following McIlroy's win at the Under-10 World Championship at Doral. The video opens with BBC reporter Rod Nawn saying, "Remember the swing and remember the name, for at just nine-years-old Rory McIlroy from Holywood is following in the footsteps of his golfing hero, Tiger Woods." Now that's a pretty impressive prognostication. Perhaps Mr. Nawn could share who he's picking in the 2024 Super Bowl.
Later on, McIlroy says he'd like to "become a pro and win all four majors." When asked if he'd like to win them all in the same year, he smiles and says "Yeah." A Masters meltdown may prevent him from doing that in 2011, but at 22 he's got plenty of time, and it seems the talent, to someday achieve that goal.
Also, if you notice, McIlroy, who is now outfitted by Oakley, happens to be wearing Nike shirts in both videos. The company known for its swoosh may have struck it big with Woods, but it appears it may have let the game's next star get out of its grasp.
-- Alex Myers
Follow on Twitter: @AlexMyers3