ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — While there is no Jeff Sluman in the field this week, Rochester is not without a native son. Even if that son happens to be from Northern Ireland and is more of a native husband.
Rory McIlroy may not be a true Western New Yorker, but he’s got the basics of it down.
“It certainly makes it easier to root for the Bills when Josh Allen is throwing the football,” said McIlroy when asked if he’s joined Bills Mafia.
McIlory’s wife Erica Stoll is from Irondequoit making this week a bit of a homecoming for Rory, even if he doesn’t consider it a true hometown event.
He’s an honorary member at Oak Hill and has checked off plenty on his Rochester bucket list.
“I’ve only had one garbage plate in my life. I haven’t went overboard with that,” said McIlroy with a laugh. “I’ve spent summers here, I’ve spent falls here, I’ve spent a few Christmases here. I really love the seasons. We live in Florida. We don’t get that. So it’s nice to come up here and see the leaves change in October and have the snow at Christmastime. There are certainly parts of it that I’ve really enjoyed and will.”
Getting to know Rochester, he’s enjoyed experiencing New York for all it has to offer, not just as New York City like many from the outside believe.
“I feel like it feels a bit more like Midwest rather than like New York City. It’s a little more of, I guess, a relaxed lifestyle up here, which is nice,” said McIlory. “A lot of outdoorsy stuff and you can hike and ski and there’s a ton of stuff to do around the Finger Lakes. I’ve gotten to know all of that stuff, which is quite nice.”
While McIlroy appreciates the extra support he’s gotten from fans this week, there’s no extra pressure this week. At least not for him.
“No, I think Erica has sort of taken on the burden of pressure, getting everyone tickets and things like that, so that’s been her department this week,” said McIlroy
When the PGA moved from August to May, the question immediately became- will the Championship ever schedule Northeast cities like Rochester again?
If McIlory had his way, the answer would be simple.
“The Northeast is sort of my favorite golf to play in this country,” said McIlroy. “I love the golf courses up here and I love the tradition, and a lot of the historic golf course architects started their journeys up here and have built some amazing golf courses. It would be a shame if we weren’t able to come back here.”
McIlroy will start play on the tenth tee on Thursday at 8:11 a.m. with two of the most recent PGA Championship winners, Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa.