Roy Keane autograph snub taught Rory McIlroy a lesson
‘He said no. It sort of stuck with me. That’s why, if a kid asks, I always try to do it’
Rory McIlroy signing autographs for children during the Open Championship. Photograph: Getty Images
Manchester United-supporting golf star Rory McIlroy admits he is no fan of Roy Keane as the former Republic of Ireland midfielder snubbed his boyhood request for an autograph.
McIlroy, the 28-year-old four-time major winner from County Down, explained why he always tries to sign autographs after Keane refused him the same privilege years ago.
A video of McIlroy handing a ball to a wide-eyed boy at the British Masters has gone viral.
And speaking ahead of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews, McIlroy revealed why he takes time out to acknowledge young fans.
“I was sort of surprised how that little moment last week became such a big thing because it’s quite a regular occurrence on Tour,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
“I must use between six and nine balls a round, and every time I need a new one, I look for a young kid in the crowd in between holes to give it.
“It just shows what such a small thing can mean to a kid. I had it go the other way for me, where I asked someone for an autograph as a kid and they didn’t give it to me. I’ve never liked them since. It was Roy Keane, who should be one of my heroes.
“I asked for his autograph at the Portmarnock Links Hotel when he was with the Ireland squad and he said no. It sort of stuck with me. That’s why, if a kid asks for an autograph, I always try to do it.”