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The Open 2019: Rory McIlroy fights back tears in emotional interview

July 19, 2019

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland — Rory McIlroy will walk away from his 2019 Open Championship undoubtedly disappointed, but proud.

As he should be.

Rory is from Northern Ireland — the pride of Northern Ireland — and playing in the championship he dreamed of winning as a child on the course he dominated as a 16 year-old boy.

But this week, none of that mattered.

Golf is a cruel game. A heartless game.  It doesn’t care where you’ve come from or where you’ll go. It cares only about the shot in front of you, and only that. It’s a cutting, cold edge that got the better of Rory this week, and sent him home to the warm sunshine of Florida, where he’ll be dreaming of two more days in the Portrush drizzle.

McIlroy was under an unimaginable amount of pressure this week, something few golfers in history have ever experienced before. He was representing a nation in the biggest sporting event in its history. The face of a new generation in Ireland who believe in pease after years of The Troubles that tore an island apart. Who, in Rory’s own words, says it doesn’t matter “what background you’re from, but you can have a great life and it doesn’t matter what side of the street you come from.”

Ultimately, on the golf course, it came down to a chip. One chip into the difficult par-4 18th, that rolled out to about seven feet away. The putt was a formality. Sixty-five, tied for the low round of the tournament, but one shot too many after the cut line had jumped to one over a short while earlier.

After his round, his emotions came pouring it.

“I didn’t play my part,” he said, holding back tears, “but everyone in Northern Ireland played theirs.”