A decade ago, Rory McIlroy was a 15-year-old kid with some skill at golf and a dad who believed in him wholeheartedly. So much so, in fact, that Gerry McIlroy and three friends put together £400, just less than $700 in today's dollars, on an audacious bet: young Rory would win the Open Championship before he turned 26. The odds? 500-1.
McIlroy is now 25. And he stands six shots ahead of the field with 18 holes to play. That crazy little bet doesn't seem so crazy now, does it? The bet would pay £200,000, or more than $340,000, if McIlroy is able to win. Assuming each of the four partners threw in equally, that's $85,000 apiece. (You know there were a few guys who thought it was a throwing-money-away bet.) Not a bad return on investment, yes?
Here's the BBC's Andrew Cotter confirming the bet:
So just to confirm - 10 yrs ago Gerry McIlroy & three friends put £400 at 500-1 on 15 year-old Rory to win The Open before he turned 26.— Andrew Cotter (@MrAndrewCotter) July 19, 2014
And in case you're still not convinced:
Ok - apparently I have to say it again - the bet still stands for this year. Checked with the man leading the Open.— Andrew Cotter (@MrAndrewCotter) July 19, 2014
How safe is the bet? Consider this: McIlroy leads by six strokes, and no one has ever lost the Open Championship leading by that many heading into the final round. It's no sure thing; McIlroy lost the Masters by choking spectacularly in 2011, but he's since won two majors in dominating fashion.
The lesson, then: parents, bet big on your kids. Sure, their love and gratitude is nice, but so's a six-figure cash payout.