The Tour Report
  • McIlroy takes time for young fan after PGA's first round

    Poses for photo, signs autograph at Louisville gas station

  • Rory McIlroy shot 66 in the first round of the PGA Championship. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)Rory McIlroy shot 66 in the first round of the PGA Championship. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy had an impressive finish to his first round at the PGA Championship, displaying near-perfect ballstriking as he played his final seven holes in 5 under par. His first-round 66 at Valhalla Golf Club had him one shot off the lead as he seeks his second consecutive major and third consecutive victory (Open Championship, World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational).

McIlroy also impressed one father of two young fans after the round. Timothy Campbell and his son, Jonah, and daughter, Maggie, followed much of McIlroy’s second nine Thursday at Valhalla. They then crossed path with the World No. 1 at a local gas station, where he posed for a photo and signed an autograph. Here’s an excerpt from the blog post on vaughtsviews.com:

“(After the round), my wife picked the three of us up and we headed toward Louisville on Shelbyville Rd. to fill up the gas tank and get dinner.  As we pulled into the Thornton’s just down from Valhalla, I noticed someone wearing the same shirt and hat that Rory wore today, did a double-take, and realized it was actually Rory McIlroy.

He had just stepped out of the driver’s seat of his 'PGA Official' Mercedes-Benz silver SUV.  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.  As I hopped out of our car, Rory’s caddie 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.

Maggie asked the caddy if she could approach Rory, and he said 'Sure.'  She then motioned to Rory, and he smiled and waved her toward him.  She said, “Hi, I’m Maggie, how are you?”  Rory said, “Oh, I’m a little tired, but feel pretty good.  I had a good day today (66), could have been better.”

Rory signed the ticket with a Sharpie pen he had in the SUV. Maggie wished him good luck, and about that time I wandered over with my iPhone camera.  I said hello and asked if he minded if I took a photo of him and Maggie. He smiled and said, 'Sure, that would be great,' in his charming Northern Irish lilt.

I took a few photos and wished him good luck.”

Campbell left impressed with McIlroy, concluding the blog by saying:

“He’s the #1 golfer in the world and more importantly a fine young man.  Those two don’t always go together.  He could have easily ignored us and we would have understood — after all, he is trying to win a major championship.  But he didn’t ignore us because he has character and recognizes the importance and his responsibility as an ambassador of the game.  He took just a minute of his time to create an experience that we won’t forget.

The man is one of the best drivers in golf, drives his own car and was going to pump his own gas. And he’s even driving on the wrong side of the road compared to how he learned to drive in Northern Ireland.  Success has not gone to his head, and I hope that it never does.  If he keeps his feet on the ground, it’s hard to say how much of his potential that he will achieve.”

Rory McIlroy signed this ticket for a young fan at a Louisville gas station after the PGA's first round.