Father Knows Best: Rory McIlroy's Dad Stands to Win Big on Decade-Old British Open Bet on Son

Father Knows Best: Rory McIlroy's Dad Stands to Win Big on Decade-Old British Open Bet on Son

Rory McIlroy enjoys a six-shot lead heading into the final round of the British Open. His father saw this coming–ten years ago.

According to British sports broadcaster Andrew Cotter, Gerry McIlroy placed a legal wager in 2004 on his 15-year-old son to win the British Open within a decade. Should the 25-year-old McIlroy falter in Sunday’s final 18 holes, the foursome will lose £400 pounds. But at 500-1, the bet stands to award them £200,000–that’s nearly $350,000–should the young golfer hang on to his lead.   

The British Open instituted a gambling prohibition among participants this year. But the rule doesn’t say anything about caddies–or daddies. 

Gerry McIlroy’s wager was hardly the most substantial investment the longtime bartender made in his son.

“At that time in Ireland, 9 years of age, there were no tournaments,” Gerry McIlroy wrote at Golf.com two years ago. “They were all in America. So we used to work at three jobs. I used to clean in the mornings–locker rooms, toilets. You had to get the money. I’m workin’ class, you know? I cleaned at the rugby club, cleaned all the toilets and the showers and the bar. And then in the afternoons, from 12 o’clock until 6 o’clock, I used to tend bar at a bar in Holywood, [Northern Ireland,] and then at 7 o’clock at night, I was at the rugby club, at the bar again. So I did that for eight years, 90 hours a week. Rosie worked for an American company, 3M, night shift, because I got home at 12. She worked 12 to 7:30 a.m., on the line. But it’s all paid off.”

It may pay off a bit more Sunday afternoon. 

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