The Open 2014: Rory McIlroy's father Gerry bags £100,000 after ten-year bet on his son to win Open Championship pays off - and his friends cash in too
McIlroy may have bagged £975,000 along with the Claret Jug but is dad Gerry was left celebrating a hefty pay-out after backing his son to win the Open within 10 years
Ten years ago Gerry McIlroy was a bar steward who showed an undying belief in his son that he staked £200 on the 15-year-old to win the Open Championship within 10 years. Today, he is not only celebrating the Claret Jug coming home with his family, but also counting the £100,000 in winnings from that bet.
Rory McIlroy’s triumph at Royal Liverpool on Sunday evening saw the Northern Irishman clinch a third major of his career, adding the Open success to his previous victories in the 2011 US Open and the 2012 PGA Championship.
While the money may not be a huge bonus to McIlroy Senior – Rory earned a whopping £975,000 with victory at Hoylake – it will be welcomed with open arms by two of his friends, who were persuaded to back teenage McIlroy all those years ago.
“I don't think it matters so much to my dad any more, but the mates he did it with, I think they're a little happier,” joked McIlroy after his final round 71 that was enough to see off the challenge of Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler.
Gerry placed £200 on odds of 500/1 to bag himself the handsome pay-out, while his friends placed between them £200 at odds of 250/1 that he would win the UK major within 10 years – or before 2015. They also placed an additional £100 at 150/1 that McIlroy would win the same tournament before he turned 50 – 25 longs years away.
“As the family celebrations get under way there'll be an extra bottle or two of bubbly courtesy of the bookies,” said Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes. “This is the most expensive Open result since Tiger Woods's heyday in 2006, but although we're facing heavy losses, we can't help but admire the foresight of Rory's dad and his pals a decade ago.
“It's not the first time a famous parent has taken us to the cleaners. Lewis Hamilton's family and friends cashed in from bets placed when the F1 star was just nine years old.”
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The victory is just reward for 52-year-old McIlroy after he worked 100 hour weeks in order to fund his son’s amateur career.
“From 12pm to 6pm I was a bartender at Holywood Golf Club, then, after going home for tea, I'd return to the sports club from 7pm-midnight to work behind the bar,” Gerry said in 2009. “I am a working-class man and that's all I knew – to get the money we needed for Rory to be able to learn and compete at golf.”
Rory McIlroy throws his ball into the crowd in celebration of his 2014 Open Championship His hard work and belief in his son has certainly paid off and not just from the bet, as McIlroy Junior has bagged around £30m in prize winnings since those amateur days and secured himself a bumper £75m sponsorship deal with Nike.
McIlroy said after he bought a house for his parents Gerry and Rosie: “I'll never be able to repay Mum and Dad for what they did, but at least they know they'll never have to work another day. I'll do whatever it takes to look after them.”
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