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Sullivan class, 10S, question Rory McIlroy

Throughout the world if you say you are from Northern Ireland people immediately think of Rory McIlroy. It’s strange to think such a famous person came from our school (Sullivan Upper). It is even more strange to think he may have had some of our teachers and perhaps sat at one of the desks we use. In many ways, Rory must have been very like us and must have many great memories of Sullivan. Yet even after knowing that he came here, it didn’t make receiving the answers back any less surreal. The winner of countless prestigious awards replied to our questions! However, perhaps when he returns from golf he could come back to Sullivan and become our PE teacher? One can only hope! Lucy

Our class was so excited when we found out that we had the opportunity to ask for a four-time major champion and one of the best golfers in the world at the moment some questions. In Holywood and Sullivan, Rory means so much to everyone and when there is a major championship or a very big event there is a sense of excitement around the area especially when it comes to the Masters. Rory is a role-model to me because I play golf all the time and I think every young golfer would love to be able to play golf like him. Everyone in Holywood gets very excited when they find out Rory comes home and he is always very happy to meet people when they ask for photographs and autographs. Rory means so much to this school and so much to Northern Ireland and it is amazing to think that a young boy from Sullivan who loved to play golf is now one of the biggest sports stars in the world. This is why it is amazing that we got the opportunity to ask a multi-major champion these questions! Thomas

It is hard to believe, but the famous golfer, Rory McIlroy was a pupil at Sullivan Upper School. Of course, nobody knew in Year 8 this wee boy was going to become one of the best golfers in the world earning millions each year. A Year 10 class in Sullivan Upper, 10S, were actually very lucky to submit questions for an interview with Rory. Ten questions were chosen and passed on for Rory to answer. Rory was very kind and took time to answer all ten questions of which he told his favourite memories of Sullivan, how much he like playing golf instead of doing homework. Through the interview, Rory had a good sense of humour, joking about changing the food in the canteen and how the summer holidays were the best part of school. We were all very lucky for Rory taking time and answering our questions. Patrick

Questions for Rory McIlroy from Year 10 pupils at Sullivan Upper School1In your career so far, if you were given the opportunity to replay one shot, which would it be?  (this question from a boy who plays golf for the school) Rory:

I’m afraid there are no replays or second chances in amateur or professional golf, and that’s the way it should be. I’ve missed cuts in big events by one shot – perhaps a putt that didn’t fall – and was upset that I’d come so close. But I was missing the point: we have to take the mistakes on the chin, learn from them and try to ensure we hole that putt the next time. 2What is your favourite memory of your time at Sullivan? Rory:

The summer holidays? No, I’m joking, of course. I have hundreds of great memories with the friends I made, both during term-time and after school. Because I lived so close to the school and walked there every day, I used to enjoy the school bus trips. I’m sure there was an educational angle to the trips (I think one was to the Ulster Museum) but it was the fun and banter I had with my friends I remember the most. 3What was the worst thing you did in school but were never caught for?   Did you ever have a detention and, if so, what for? Rory:

In all honesty, I never actually did anything wrong (in my eyes, at least) at school or misbehaved in any big way. If it was anything, it was probably just a lot of clowning around. I was detained a couple of times but that was for not handing in homework because I was playing golf or not present because I was playing golf. There was a theme evolving… 4If you could change something about your time at Sullivan what would you change and why? Rory:

I would change nothing, just as I said before. Okay, then, maybe the food in the canteen!  But in a serious sense, wanting to change something from the   past doesn’t work for me – change something you don’t enjoy now rather than regretting it later. 5Who are your sporting and non-sporting role models or sources of inspiration? Rory:

Leaving golf aside for the moment, I’d choose Roger Federer as a sporting role model, Muhammad Ali for a sporting and non-sporting role model and Nelson Mandela as a true and lasting inspiration. I believe that anybody with Mandela’s capacity to endure hardship and then forgive is a born leader and example to us all. 6When did you realise that golf was beginning to dominate and that you needed to leave school to fulfil your dreams? Rory:

I think there came a time – probably when I was about 13 – when I started to struggle with an increasing volume of schoolwork and the demands from my   golfing schedule and aspirations. I’m not sure if the decision to leave school was very clear in my mind then but I did know that in the juggling between the two, my energies were most definitely in the golfing direction… 7When you were a child did you ever think that you were going to become one of the world’s best golfers? When did you start to realise your   potential? Rory:

I don’t really remember but from about the age of five I told anyone who would listen that I was going to be the best golfer in the world. They were, mostly, kind enough to humour me with a pat on the head and say: “Of course you are, son”. But I started to really believe in myself, and my abilities, when I won the World Under-10 championship in Doral, Florida. I was nine, and saw for the first time that I was amongst the best players in the world for   my age. This was a massive confidence-builder for me. 8What has it been like to go from living in Holywood to travelling the world? Rory:

I was very excited when I first started to travel so much. In fact, I was amazed that people were paying me to travel to play the game I loved. I wouldn’t say the novelty of travelling to great places has completely worn off but it is more like a job now and gets tiring towards the end of a season. Now, the flight I’m most excited about is the one that takes me back to Northern Ireland to visit family and friends. 9What was your favourite subject in school?  What other activities did you do at Sullivan? Rory:

Sport was an obvious favourite of mine, and not only golf. I was, and still am, a big rugby fan and have stayed friends with the Ulster and Ireland rugby   player, Darren Cave, another ex-Sullivan pupil. I still go to all the Ulster and Ireland rugby games when I can. It may come as a surprise but I also really started to get into history while I was at school. I found the projects about the Second World War fascinating – perhaps when I get the time again, I could pick up where I left off. 10If you weren’t a golfer, what would you be? Rory:

That’s such a hard question. I’ve just been playing golf for so long (I was a two-year-old!) that I find it difficult to imagine another profession. Thinking about it now, though, I can, in some other life, see myself in some kind of sport or fitness instructor’s role – perhaps even a Physical-Ed teacher. Fitness plays such an important role in my life now, and an integral part of my golf structure, that I think I might be quite good at teaching others the benefits of sport and fitness. But now that I’m getting the hang of this golfing business, I’ll stick with it for the meantime…


Rory was the Ulster Schools Senior Golf Champion 2004 at Valley Links, Royal Portrush Golf Club

2nd place Silver Salver2004

Rory was part of the Sullivan team who won the 2nd place Silver Salver on Thursday 25 March 2004 at Valley Links, Royal Portush Golf Club


Rory visited Sullivan Upper School in June 2011 after winning the 2011 US Open.

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