Plaudits pour in for McIlroy after win
Rory McIlroy’s second golf major success in winning the US PGA tournament in South Carolina at the weekend has earned plaudits from senior politicians on both sides of the Border.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the 23-year-old’s victory was confirmation of the golfer's enormous golfing talent and a signal that he has the "potential to become one of the greats of the game".
"Irish golf is going through an amazing period of success and Rory is at the vanguard of that charge," Mr Kenny added.
First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness described McIlroy’s achievement as stunning with Mr Robinson saying he was a wonderful ambassador for Northern Ireland and his sport.
"After winning his first major golf title last year, Rory McIlroy has now become the first golfer from Northern Ireland to win a second major title. His golfing talent knows no bounds and who knows what he may go on to achieve in his sporting career," he said.
Mr McGuinness said McIlroy had bounced back from what was a somewhat indifferent season by his own high standards with an amazing victory in the last of the 2012 majors. "This is the sign of a true champion".
Northern Ireland sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin said his victory was the "crowning moment in a stunning sporting fortnight".
The North's tourism Minister Arlene Foster said: "Rory’s win, combined with the recent success of the Irish Open, which saw record-breaking crowds through the gates of Royal Portrush, highlights how golf is continuing to offer Northern Ireland global exposure".
And referring to the golf major achievements of Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke she added: "The Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Tourism Ireland are both working to make the most of the opportunities that our local stars are creating, to encourage the world to see for themselves why we are the home of champions".
Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said McIlroy was now the first Northern Ireland golfer to win two majors "and who knows where it will end, because he has shown again this weekend he has the same ability as Tiger Woods at his peak, to blow away the best of the rest".