Rory McIlroy leads by a single shot over Bernd Wiesberger as he prepares for the final round of the 96th PGA Championship. Regardless of the outcome, McIlroy demonstrated, by his actions, the difference between himself and many of today’s titans on the PGA Tour after his first round.
Thursday, outside the gates of Valhalla, the Timothy Campbell family stopped for gas after Mrs. Campbell had picked up Tim, son Jonah and daughter Maggie who had spent the day enjoying the ambiance of the PGA Championship. That ambiance included the trio following McIlroy as he played his final nine holes. As they pulled into the Thornton gas station, Campbell noticed someone wearing the same shirt and hat that Rory had been wearing at the tournament. Doing a double take, he realized it was, in fact, Rory McIlroy!
Campbell described what happened next.
“He had just stepped out of the driver’s seat of his PGA Official Mercedes-Benz silver SUV vehicle. He was going to pump the gas himself, but his cell phone rang and he got back in the SUV. My wife pulled our car into the gas pump right in front of his,” he recounted.
“As I hopped out of our car, Rory’s caddy hopped out of the SUV. Rory sat in the driver’s seat and finished his call. Maggie got out of our car and I handed her my PGA Ticket and a pen and told her, ‘Now is your chance.’ She didn’t waste it.”
The youngster asked McIlroy’s caddy if she could approach Rory. He said “Sure.” And Maggie motioned to Rory who smiled and waved her over.
“Hi, I’m Maggie, how are you?” 15 year old Maggie asked. Rory replied, “Oh, I’m a little tired, but feel pretty good. I had a good day today. Could have been better.” McIlroy signed the ticket the teenager had with a Sharpie he had in his SUV.
About that time Campbell wandered over with his iPhone camera and asked Rory if he could take a photo of him. Rory smiled and said, “Sure that would be great.”
What took place at that gas station is an example of Rory’s character. His unassuming, friendly and personable nature is due, in large part, to the values instilled in him by parents Rosie and Gerry McIlroy. They showed their son that, with tireless work and dedication, he could be a winner. They also raised Rory to understand the true meaning of humility. They did all of this by example, working tirelessly so their son might, one day, be a champion.
Regardless of the outcome of the PGA Championship, we are lucky to have Rory competing. As demonstrated at that gas station, Rory McIlroy just may be the breath of fresh air the PGA Tour needs right now.
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