I love golf. It is a game I have enjoyed playing from a very young age. One of my favourite golfers is Rory McIlroy. He is a great role model, fearless and plays exceptional golf. He has bounced back from challenges and from a very modest childhood environment where his parents sacrificed an enormous amount to give him the opportunity to live his dream of playing professional golf.
A recent article in The Australian detailed this journey very well. The journalist had the opportunity to interview Rory soon after a recent win in the United States. The discussions with Rory were far and wide. They covered everything from his childhood, personal life, his wins and losses, friendships and family.
Rory was very level headed and measured as the journalist took him through all of the topics in the article, with the exception of one. His parents and the sacrifices they made, which he could still vividly recall and remember. Some of the quotes in the article that were telling included “I always remember my dad working three different jobs, for more than 90 hours a week“. Another was “all the way through my youth, he did what I wanted to do rather than what he wanted to do. My mum was the same, working around the clock to help me pay for tournaments when I got to nine or ten’. Very insightful and humbling insights from him around the people he clearly loves and values.
He went further with a really telling quote, “at that age, you just don’t realise the scale of the sacrifice. I thought it was normal; it’s what I had got used to. Looking back today, I realise it was anything but normal“. At this point, Rory paused and gulped and his eyes filled with tears. I don’t need to go on but the enormity of the reflection had clearly impacted him.
My reflection on this article has reinforced my positive thoughts on Rory McIlroy for a number of reasons. He is not afraid to show his emotions and gratitude to his parents for all they have done for him. He truly appreciates the sacrifices made by them to allow him to live his dream. This is not always the case for all of us who perhaps focus on the things our parents didn’t do rather than what they did for us. He is also not afraid to share and show this emotion and gratitude when conveying the respect and love he has for his parents.
The final insight for me was that notwithstanding the success and achievements he has accomplished, the humility that he possesses is quite uncommon for someone so successful and in the public spotlight. Fantastic but rare. Let’s hope that he continues to stay grounded as he continues to achieve great things.
I will leave you with a final quote that I loved in the article:
“But I will never be able to do for them what they did for me. I will never be able to repay them for that……but I hope they know how much it means to me. There is nothing more important“. Wow! I think I need to ring my parents.