When Rory McIlroy was just 15-years-old, he was already starting to show signs of becoming the next great European golfer. He helped the European team win the Junior Ryder Cup in 2004 and went on to win a number of amateur titles. His father, Gerry, decided to put some money on his son’s success. Gerry McIlroy and a group of three friends put money on Rory to win the British Open before the age of 26.
Fast forward 10 years, and Rory McIlroy is a British Open champion. He turned 25 last May, which means his father and his father’s friends will cash in for £200,000 pounds, or about $85,400 per person. McIlroy, who got a huge hug from his dad after walking off the 18th green, said in his post-round press conference that “the other 3 men that he did that with, they’re going to be very happy.”
Gerry, 52, and his wife, Rosie, are credited with a crucial influence on Rory’s stunning rise to golfing prominence. Gerry at one stage worked 100 hours per week to fund Rory’s participation in amateur events. “From 12pm to 6pm I was a bartender at Holywood Golf Club, then, after going home for tea, I’d return to the sports club from 7pm-midnight to work behind the bar,” he said in 2009. “I am a working-class man and that’s all I knew, to get the money we needed for Rory to be able to learn and compete at golf,” he added. Read more about the story here.