Updates from Sunday, July 20
Rory McIlroy won the 2014 British Open by two strokes Sunday, and now his father, Gerry, and three of Gerry's friends can collect $342,000 from a bet they made in 2004.
They bet £400 ($683) with 500-1 odds on 15-year-old Rory winning the British Open before the age of 26, and the 25-year-old delivered at the last time of asking.
Following McIlroy's win, he commented on his father's bet, via Darren Rovell of ESPN:
Rory on dad’s bet: “I knew that he had done it, I’m not sure that they’ll pay on it.“— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) July 20, 2014
There are a lot of fathers out there with confidence in their sons' athletic ability, but few of those sons are able to back it up quite like Rory McIlroy.
According to Andrew Cotter of BBC, Gerry McIlroy and friends bet on his son to win the British Open before the age of 26:
So just to confirm - 10 yrs ago Gerry McIlroy & three friends put £400 at 500-1 on 15 year-old Rory to win The Open before he turned 26.— Andrew Cotter (@MrAndrewCotter) July 19, 2014
Yes, it was by the age of 25. So I asked the man himself. This year still counts.— Andrew Cotter (@MrAndrewCotter) July 19, 2014
The 2004 bet comes to $683, which could total $342,000 if McIlroy is able to come through with a victory Sunday, according to Kyle Porter of CBSSports.com. McIlroy is 25 years old, so this is his last chance to make good on the bet.
Fortunately for the proud father, McIlroy is in great shape to win The Open Championship. He shot out to a lead in Round 1 with a score of 66, which he was able to follow up with another 66 in Round 2. Although he slowed down a bit in Round 3, he finished with two eagles in his final three holes to build a six-stroke lead heading into the final round.
As Justin Ray of Golf Channel notes, this is not a lead that is often lost at majors:
Largest 54-hole lead lost in major championship history is 6 shots, done only once, Greg Norman at 1996 Masters.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) July 19, 2014
After the round, McIlroy explained that he had confidence going into Sunday with his lead, via Steve DiMeglio of USA Today:
I'm comfortable leading the tournament. This is the third night in a row that I'll sleep on the lead. It helps that I've been in this position before and I've been able to convert and I've been able to get the job done. I'm comfortable with how I'm hitting it. Really comfortable on the greens. I just need to go out there tomorrow and play one more solid round and hopefully that's enough.
As long as McIlroy avoids a massive collapse, he should be able to come through with his third career major championship.
Ron Sirak of Golf Digest believes McIlroy should win based on how he has played to this point:
One thing McIlroy has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt: He knows how to win when he has his A game. And it looks like he has his A game.— Ron Sirak (@ronsirak) July 18, 2014
Of course, betting on him to win with a lead is much easier than predicting a 15-year-old player will someday win one of golf's most prestigious titles. On the other hand, we do know that McIlroy was quite impressive at a young age. Here's an eight-year-old McIlroy with UTV's Gerry Kelly:
It seems as though Gerry McIlroy's faith in his son will pay off, possibly leading to more bets of this nature in the future.
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