Rory McIlroy reveals his dislike for Roy Keane
As a child the golf star was refused an autograph by his fellow Irishman
An Irish storm could be brewing after Rory McIlroy admitted his aversion to Roy Keane.
McIlroy recalled a childhood encounter with former footballer Keane when the midfield icon was at Portmarnock Links Hotel with the Irish national team. He asked Keane for an autograph but was turned down.
The experience left a mark on McIlroy, who last week was filmed giving a ball to a youngster mid-round when playing at the British Masters.
Speaking ahead of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland, McIlroy told The Daily Telegraph: “I was sort of surprised how that little moment last week became such a big thing because it’s quite a regular occurrence on tour.
“I must use between six and nine balls a round, and every time I need a new one, I look for a young kid in the crowd in between holes to give it. It just shows what such a small thing can mean to a kid.”
McIlroy added: “I had it go the other way for me, where I asked someone for an autograph as a kid and they didn't give it to me. And I’ve never liked them since.
“It was Roy Keane. He should be one of my heroes because I was, and still am, a huge Man Utd fan. But I remember I went and asked him for his autograph at the Portmarnock Links Hotel when he was with the Ireland squad and he just said no.
“And it just sort of stuck with me ever since. So that’s why if a kid asks me for an autograph, I always try to do it.”
It’s not the first time McIlroy has talked about Keane. The 28-year-old is a close friend of former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who has also had public spats with Keane.
In 2015, the Daily Mail reported McIlroy’s response when asked how much he would pay to watch Ferguson and Keane battle it out in a ring.
McIlroy said at the time: “I’d pay a lot to watch Sir Alex knock him out.”
Now the sporting world waits to see if Keane responds with a counter-attack. If his football is anything to go by, we should expect fireworks.