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McIlroy enjoying the embrace at The Players

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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Rory McIlroy sat in front of his locker at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course this afternoon reading the stack of mail on his lap.

Still glowing over his impressive victory at the Quail Hollow Championship, his good feeling was doubled at The Players Championship with all the “Happy Birthday” wishes pouring into him.

McIlroy turned 21 on Tuesday.

His caddie, J.P. Fitzgerald, organized a birthday bash for later in the evening that would include McIlroy’s pals from the European Tour. Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer and a bunch of European Tour caddies were all expected. So was McIlroy's American pal, Rickie Fowler.

“Winning at Quail Hollow was a nice early birthday present,” McIrloy said. “I’ve gotten just a great reception from all the players here.”

McIlroy said Northern Ireland’s foreign minister was among the many congratulatory calls. He said it meant a lot to him that Hall of Famer Greg Norman also called him.