Not Today Mate: Roy Keane Once Rejected Rory McIlroy

We’ve dehumanised our sporting icons so much, that when they reveal themselves to be just like us, we can’t get enough of it (after the initial reaction of: “Wait, what? There’s no way Tiger Woods watches Modern Family, too! I watch it as well! This is too weird!”).

Rory McIlroy, for all his faults – and yes, the superstar golfer has many – is one of the more ‘relatable’ big names out on the golf course.

The Irishman is one of the best golfers for taking time out with the fans, going through the repetitiveness of signing a kid’s autograph book and posing for the 100th selfie of the day (you can always see at which point during the photos a sports star’s eyes begin to scream: “HELP ME!”.

And the reason behind the former world No.1’s patience and dedication with his fans – something A LOT of celebrities could learn from – is all down to when McIlory, a then-eight-year-old boy, met his then-icon, Roy Keane of Manchester United.

“It’s lovely when you can do that, but it can work both ways.

“I remember approaching someone for an autograph when I was that age and they didn’t give it to me and I’ve never liked them since.

“It was Roy Keane, who should be one of my heroes.

“I went and asked him for an autograph at the Portmarnock Links hotel when he was with the Ireland squad and he said no. It stuck with me. I’m sure he’s all right but I’ve never forgotten it. That’s why, when a kid asks me for an autograph, I always try to do it.”

Rory McIlroy

As if Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland tensions weren’t fierce enough – and no doubt we will be due a typical Roy Keane-esque retort to McIlroy’s story, something along the lines of: “My dad or mum never even looked me in the eye, and this Rory fella wants my name on a piece of paper?! Do me a favour.”