How Gerry McIlroy Won £100,000 After Rory's Open Victory In 2014

There were plenty of reasons to celebrate in the McIlroy family when he hoisted the Claret Jug at Hoylake nine years ago

Rory McIlroy
Rory with parents Rosie and Gerry
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As if your son winning The Open wasn't good enough Gerry McIlroy had plenty of reasons to celebrate Rory's victory at the 2014 Championship at Royal Liverpool.

Gerry and a friend reportedly placed a £200 bet at odds of 500-1 to see them cash in to the tune of £100,000 when McIlroy, who picked up £975,000 for his efforts, claimed his two-shot victory. 

The bet was that the then 15-year-old from Holywood in Northern Ireland would win the game's oldest Major before he turned 26.

At the time Gerry was a bar steward in Belfast and, while it wouldn't take long for Rory to make a very successful start in the professional game, the foresight and optimism was exceptional. 

The even better news is that two of his friends also placed similar bets which cost Ladbrokes a further £80,000. There was also a report of a further £100 flutter that McIlroy would win The Open before he reached 50.

A Ladbrokes spokesman said at the time: "As the family celebrations get under way there'll be an extra bottle or two of bubbly courtesy of the bookies. This is the most expensive Open result since Tiger Woods' heyday in 2006, but although we're facing heavy losses, we can't help but admire the foresight of Rory's dad and his pals a decade ago. 

"It's not the first time a famous parent has taken us to the cleaners. Lewis Hamilton's family and friends cashed in from bets placed when the F1 star was just nine years old."

After his win McIlroy was asked about the bet and, yes, they did pay out.

"I don't think it matters so much to my dad any more, but the mates he did it with, I think they're a little happier. He's never reminded me. I knew that he'd done it. I'm not sure if it will pay out. If it does, it's a nice little bonus.

"The support of my parents has been incredible. Growing up and doing everything, the sacrifices that they made for me. But even up to this day they're the two people in this world that I can talk to anything about. I couldn't ask to have two better parents. 

"They're there for me at the worst of times, like this time last year after missing the cut at Muirfield, or the best of times walking off as the champion golfer of the year this year. I can't speak highly enough of my parents. They're the best people in the world."

In an interview in 2009 Gerry gave us some sort of insight into how much they had sacrificed in McIlroy's early years.

"From 12pm to 6pm I was a bartender at Holywood GC, then, after going home for tea, I'd return to the sports club from 7pm-midnight to work behind the bar. I am a working-class man and that's all I knew – to get the money we needed for Rory to be able to learn and compete at golf."

Mark Townsend
Contributing editor

Mark has worked in golf for over 20 years having started off his journalistic life at the Press Association and BBC Sport before moving to Sky Sports where he became their golf editor on He then worked at National Club Golfer and Lady Golfer where he was the deputy editor and he has interviewed many of the leading names in the game, both male and female, ghosted columns for the likes of Robert Rock, Charley Hull and Dame Laura Davies, as well as playing the vast majority of our Top 100 GB&I courses. He loves links golf with a particular love of Royal Dornoch and Kingsbarns. He is now a freelance, also working for the PGA and Robert Rock. Loves tour golf, both men and women and he remains the long-standing owner of an horrific short game. He plays at Moortown with a handicap of 6.