PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Rory McIlroy did not celebrate his victory in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday night, something he says he regrets. As you may reckon, Charlotte is now one of his favorite cities. Instead Rory saved the celebration for Florida, where he could combine the victory party with a celebration of his 21st birthday Tuesday night.
So Rory's caddie rounded up a group of some of Rory's best friends on Tour and rented out the back room of a restaurant in Ponte Vedra. If you're envisioning an upscale steakhouse like a Ruth's Chris or a Del Friscos you're about 180 degrees off. There were no white table cloths to be found at this party. Lulu's, as it's quite aptly named, is a backwater shack on the river only a couple miles from TPC Sawgrass. Think backyard furniture, a bar surrounded by neon lights, a screened-in porch party on a wooden deck. Very laid back. Very Rory.
But that doesn't mean it couldn't cater to an elite crowd. The waitstaff, clad in t-shirts and jeans, passed around bottles of beer and home-cooked seafood to the likes of Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood. Many other European players were there as well, including Graeme McDowell, Ross Fisher and Oliver Wilson. A few Americans were in the mix . . . most notably fellow young gun and up-and-coming superstar, Rickie Fowler.
Numerous caddies, agents and managers were also on hand, sitting around the seven or so tables scattered about the porch for the festivities which included a chocolate and ice cream birthday cake decorated in the theme of a golf course with golfer figurines. Rory led the group in the traditional 'Happy Birthday' song before blowing out his candles while the crowd toasted the 21-year-old champion with plastic dixie cups filled with champagne. Rory gave a short speech thanking everyone for coming to celebrate with him and thanked his caddie and friends for their support in his Charlotte victory. There were a few presents opened including a child-size plastic golf bag and plastic clubs . . . But the best present he said was a trophy at home on his mantle that reads 'Quail Hollow Championship.' The second best present he said he received was a shag (as in shag dancing) lesson taught on the back porch of Lulu's to what else, but some Carolina beach music.