On Wednesday evening, Rory McIlory will return to Washington D.C. for the first time since his triumph at the 2011 U.S. Open Championship.
Only this time, his trip to D.C. will have nothing to do with golf.
McIlory will not be visiting Congressional Country Club nor will he be touching a golf club. Instead, he will be dining in the company of some pretty powerful men just a few miles away from Congressional Country Club at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
McIlory will be attending a state dinner at the White House hosted by President Barack Obama to honor British Prime Minister David Cameron.
“Going to have dinner in the White House tomorrow! Got a little help with my suit from Alexander Nash in NY,” McIlory posted on his Twitter account yesterday afternoon.
McIlory, the world’s new No. 1-ranked golfer, is coming off a win at the Honda Classic two weeks ago and a third-place finish at last week’s WGC Cadillac Championship.
The next big event on McIlory’s calendar, aside from being a guest of the president at tonight’s state dinner, is the Masters.
Two years ago McIlroy was a talented young golfer with tremendous potential. However, few people outside of golf circles would have even recognized McIlory if he had bumped into them at their local supermarket.
Add in a major championship and a world No. 1 ranking, and McIlory is now dating tennis stars, appearing on the covers of magazines and attending state dinners at the White House.
My, how things have changed in just a few short years.
Right now the endorsements, the commercials, the jet-setting around the world, the state dinners and all of the other attention he has been receiving are still quite new to McIlroy.
The life of a celebrity starts to become more challenging when the initial fascination with all of the attention and adoration begins to wear off. Things like going to that next commercial shoot or traveling halfway across the world to attend a tennis match, only to turn around the next day and travel back across the world to play in a golf tournament, begin to become more of a burden than a form of enjoyment.
Fame and fortune have changed more than a few good men; just ask another golfer from Southern California who was full of smiles and laughter when he first burst onto the scene 15 years ago. Fourteen major titles and $1 billion later, that same golfer—Tiger Woods—looks more like a fraudulent CEO about to address a room full of angry shareholders than a guy who truly enjoys what he does for a living.
Based on the way McIlory has been playing as of late, there’s not too much he needs to worry about on the golf course.
Off the course, however, that is a different matter altogether.
Dealing with fame, fortune and the expectations and pressures that come along with them will be the real challenge for young Rory McIlory in the coming weeks, months and years.
But for now, Rory, enjoy the state dinner at the White House. Five years from now, you might very well find yourself brainstorming with your agent about what kind of excuse you can make up to avoid yet another unwanted intrusion on your time, whether that intrusion happens to be your 75th commercial shoot of the year or a state dinner at the White House.
For more golf news, insight and analysis, check out The Tour Report.