DUBLIN, Ohio – Rory McIlroy’s road to the U.S. Open goes through Haiti.
McIlroy signed on as one of Ireland’s ambassadors to UNICEF in March, saying he looked forward to working with the charity organization geared toward helping children and making a field visit.
McIlroy chose Haiti as his first trip, a tiny country ravaged last year by an earthquake.
The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland, who opened with a 66 to share the first-round lead at the Memorial, is going to Haiti on Monday and Tuesday for what he said “should be an eye-opening experience.”
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I signed up with UNICEF at the start of the year,” McIlroy said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
The trip figures to be part of a week filled with two extremes. McIlroy will go from Haiti to Washington for two days of practice at Congressional for the U.S. Open. Then after a day with a corporate sponsor in New Jersey, he plans to spend the weekend at Pine Valley Golf Club before heading over to the next major championship.
McIlroy said he first became interested in working with UNICEF through its partnership with Barcelona’s football club, and star player Lionel Messi being one of The International ambassadors.
“You want to associate yourself with a charity that you feel close to, and UNICEF works with mainly a children’s charity,” McIlroy said. “And I feel like I’m the sort of age that I can relate to younger people. I just don’t want to put my name on it. I wanted to do something, and they were very keen for me to go and see somewhere where they’re hands-on.
“It just fit in quite well that I could go to Haiti for a couple of days and see what they do.”