BETHESDA, Md. – Rory McIlroy’s star continues to rise, but you wouldn’t have known it Saturday morning at the hotel where he’s staying.
For a player of his international stature, McIlroy is refreshingly entourage free at 22 years old. When he came down to meet agent Chubby Chandler and others for breakfast this morning , the 36-hole leader of the U.S. Open was virtually anonymous walking through the lobby.
“He was wearing his eyeglasses, and people don’t recognize him when he’s wearing them,” Chandler said.
McIlroy, who is from Northern Ireland, has been hanging primarily with his father, Gerry, and his manager, Stuart Cage, this week. He has also spent some time rekindling a childhood friendship with Scott Pinckney, a senior at Arizona State University. Pinckney and McIlroy hit it off so well as 9 year olds meeting at the Doral Publix Championship in Miami that McIlroy spent the summer with the Pinckney family in Utah when he was 11 years old. The boys played golf practically every day.
“The Pinckneys still talk about how they could hear the ‘ping . . . ping . . . ping’ and the rolling of golf balls every night with the boys putting in their rooms that summer,” Chandler said.
That’s the same summer Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open by a record 15 shots at Pebble Beach. McIlroy was with the Pinckneys in the United States when he watched that historic rout on television. Who knew back then that McIlroy might challenge the records Woods set at that U.S. Open?
Pinckney made it through a sectional qualifier into this week's U.S. Open. He and McIlroy played a practice round this week and had dinner together.