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“Everything that’s happened to me on the golf course and off the golf course has already been beyond my wildest dreams, and sometimes I have to sort of pinch myself and sort of ask why me, why am I so lucky?”

So says new dad Rory McIlroy.

The four-time major champion became a father for the first time earlier this week when his wife Erica gave birth to a little girl: Poppy Kennedy McIlroy.

With mum and baby doing well and surrounded by family, 31-year-old McIlroy is in Atlanta for this week’s PGA Tour season-finale, the Tour Championship at East Lake, where he admitted to being “emotionally drained” by the life-changing events of the last few days.

He also explained how he and Erica settled on the name for their daughter.

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“We just really liked it,” said the Northern Irishman “I have a cousin of mine, her daughter is named Poppy. We know a few other Poppies. And we just really love the name. We were sort of trying to go through a lot of the flower names, Rose, Iris, all those things. My mom is a Rosie, so we were sort of like, that mightn’t work. We know Alex Noren has an Iris. Shane Lowry has an Iris.

“We wanted to go with something that was pretty unique, maybe more common back where I’m from, but we landed on Poppy and we loved it.”

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By his own admission, McIlroy has struggled to summon his best form since the PGA Tour resumed from its COVID-19 hiatus. However, he is hopeful that the so-called ‘Nappy Factor’ of being a new dad can act as a catalyst for a strong end to the year.

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“It’s been hard the last couple weeks because you’re sort of in limbo when she’s going to arrive, and then in the back of your mind you’re hoping it’s going to go well,” he said. “You hope that your daughter is safe. You hope that your wife is safe.

“There’s a lot of different things and there’s a lot of things that sort of run through your head. The fact that all that went well and everyone is good and recovering at home, I feel more comfortable now that I can come out here and play golf and maybe get my mind off it for four or five hours a day, and that’s a nice thing. “And then obviously I can get a couple of good nights’ sleep before I go home


author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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