Why won’t G-Mac be at Rory’s wed­ding?

As Cong pre­pares for McIl­roy nup­tials, there’s one no­table no-show

Irish Daily Mail - - Front Page - By Lisa O’Don­nell, John Fal­lon and Dar­ragh Small news@dailymail.ie

RORY McIl­roy and Erica Stoll’s lav­ish wed­ding this week­end is set to be a starstud­ded af­fair – but one per­son who will not be making an ap­pear­ance is McIl­roy’s fel­low Ul­ster golfer, Graeme McDow­ell.

The Antrim man will be in Texas play­ing in the Valero Texas Open on McIl­roy’s big day in Cong, Co. Mayo.

How­ever, there are ques­tions as to whether McDow­ell would have at­tended the wed­ding in any event.

The pair’s for­merly close friend­ship hit a rocky patch in re­cent years due to a le­gal dis­pute be­tween their man­age­ment com­pany, Horizon Sports, and McIl­roy, which McDow­ell pre­vi­ously ad­mit­ted left a strain on their re­la­tion­ship. Ru­mours of a fall­ing out sur­rounded the pair when McDow­ell’s name was in­cluded in court pro­ceed­ings by McIl­roy’s lawyers.

McIl­roy claimed that Horizon Sports gave him in­fe­rior terms to McDow­ell, de­spite prom­ises that there would be parity.

Le­gal pro­ceed­ings in the case were served on the eve of McDow­ell’s wed­ding in Septem­ber 2013.

The ac­tion was set­tled be­tween Horizon and McIl­roy in early 2015 for a €22mil­lion sum.

Speak­ing in 2014 about the strain in their re­la­tion­ship, McDow­ell said that he’d felt stuck in the mid­dle of the le­gal bat­tle, and that their re­la­tion­ship had not re­turned to its old fa­mil­iar foot­ing.

But he in­sisted that any ten­sion was strictly busi­ness, and not per­sonal.

Mean­while, it also emerged yes­ter­day that an­other big name from the world of golf will also miss the cer­e­mony. Tiger Woods, with whom McIl­roy has forged a friend­ship in re­cent times, has just un­der­gone back surgery.

McIl­roy re­cently de­scribed how he went from be­ing ‘prob­a­bly one of the big­gest Tiger fans you will ever come across’ to be­ing a close friend of Woods, 41.

‘He’s an in­trigu­ing char­ac­ter,’ said McIl­roy said of Woods. ‘When he’s com­fort­able and he trusts you, he’s great.’

Even with­out the pres­ence of ei­ther McDow­ell or Woods, the McIl­roy-Stoll nup­tials look set to be the wed­ding of the year.

Yes­ter­day, it emerged that leg­endary singer song­writer Ste­vie Won­der will per­form at the wed­ding with an 18-piece band.

Cong, Co. Mayo, is no stranger to celebrity wed­dings, or in­deed McIl­roy and his fi­ancée who have spent New Year’s Eve in Ash­ford Cas­tle for the past num­ber of years.

Yes­ter­day, the small vil­lage near the Galway bor­der was rolling out the red car­pet for the 27-year-old Holy­wood, Co. Down, na­tive and his New Yorker beloved, whom he started dat­ing in 2014.

Se­cu­rity at the 350-acre es­tate has been tight all week, while the ho­tel has been booked since Wed­nes­day.

Be­fore the re­sort went into lock­down, two couples from the US got a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the lux­ury first-hand. Pa­trick and Pa­tri­cia Mc­Gov­ern, and Rich and Trudy Jelderks, both from Vir­ginia in the US, stayed at the ho­tel and were as­tounded by the splen­dour.

‘My an­ces­tors came from North­ern Ire­land so I al­ways wanted to come back and visit here,’ said Mr Mc­Gov­ern. ‘I have watched Rory McIl­roy a lot. I am a big fan, and I’m sure he’ll like Ash­ford Cas­tle.’

One man who knows what it is like to cater to the rich and fa­mous is Car­los Gordo, who now works in a restau­rant and pub in the vil­lage, hav­ing pre­vi­ously worked as a chef at Ash­ford Cas­tle.

‘Ash­ford brings all of the VIPs to Cong,’ Mr Gordo said. ‘Peo­ple try to sneak in and have a look at the celebri­ties. But it’s a small vil­lage: every­one is nice and no one forces them­selves on the celebri­ties.’

‘Tiger? He’s an in­trigu­ing guy’

Team: Rory McIl­roy and Erica Stoll at last year’s Ry­der Cup

Par: Graeme McDow­ell and Rory McIl­roy, top. Above: McDow­ell and Kristin Stape’s 2013 nup­tials, which McIl­roy didn’t at­tend, right

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