Without a doubt, Rory McIlroy's dad, Gerry McIlroy, has always had great faith in his son's ability to play golf at the highest level. Gerry McIlroy's faith was so great that he and three friends bet $684 dollars (400 pounds) in 2004 with a bookie (they are legal in England) at odds of 500 to 1 that Rory McIlroy would win the British Open before turning age 26.
Rory McIlroy won the British Open on Sunday, July 20, 2014, when he was 25 years, two months, and 16 days old. So Gerry McIlroy and each of his three friends turned $171 dollars each into $85,500 each with the win.
The odds that Gerry McIlroy and his three friends got on Rory McIlroy winning the British Open before he turned 26 was 500 to 1 when they made the bet in 2004. It has to be a great feeling Gerry McIlroy has today that not only did his son win the British Open with a first place prize of $1.672 million, but that Gerry also cashed a $85,500 winning ticket on Rory's historic win.
The overall bet by Rory McIlroy's dad and friends turned $684 into $342,000. With four people participating equally, that works out to each person betting $171 and getting back $85,500. That is a very healthy return on your money, even if the bet took 10 years to pay off.
Rory McIlroy started playing golf at the age of two. As he progressed in golf through his youth, Gerry McIlroy was always there to encourage and coach Rory. Gerry McIlroy himself was a very good near scratch golfer.
In order to pay for Rory's golf development, both his mom and dad would work extra jobs. Rory's mom worked at the local 3M plant, and she would work extra shifts to make sure there was enough money to pay for Rory's golf needs as an amateur.
In 2004, Rory McIlroy was a member of Europe's winning Junior Ryder Cup team, but it's unclear if Gerry McIlroy had placed the bet on his son to win the British Open by age 26 before or after that event. In any event, Rory McIlroy did show great promise as a golfer prior to 2004, but probably only his father and his father's friends had the faith to lay down a $684 wager with a very uncertain outcome.
Seeing Gerry McIlroy and his friends turn a $684 bet made 10 years ago into a $342,000 win after Rory McIlroy won the 2014 British Open is a great story. Amazingly, Gerry McIlroy and his friends never really even had to worry much about winning the bet this year, as Rory McIlroy won the British Open in wire to wire fashion leading the tournament after each round.