Rory McIlroy. Not only a golfing genius – a branding genius.

30 May 2024, Thursday




I’m an athlete. I’m a golfer. I’m a son. I’m a fan. I’m Rory   : Rory McIlroy   





South Africa owes Rory McIlroy a big THANK YOU.

Not only did he take time out to enjoy Londolozi and play in the BMW SA Open , when other leading SA golfers chose not to play in their own national tournament – he almost single handily re- ignited and re- imagined golf in South Africa – giving the SA OPEN a renewed rigour going forward.

Dale Hayes , on his online golf chat, commented that not since the play-off in the SA Open between Gary Player, John Bland and Warren Humphries at Royal Johannesburg 35 odd years ago – had he seen local golf galleries like that .Young, old, men, women, children, some in wheelchairs – they had all come out to Glendower to see the best and most exciting golfer in the World.

Rory McIlroy is athletic and authentic . Not only a golfing genius, he’s a branding genius.

And it’s branding which elicits the extraordinary.

Rory, Rory Rory …..Go Rory Rory … Glory ……. were the chants from the packed fan galleries.

Rory understands it is not all about chasing the result – chasing the game . It’s not all about winning . It’s not all about the money. It’s not all about the number one ranking in the world.

It’s about  “ENTERTAINING,EDUCATING and ENRICHING” the lives of others through his god given talents.

Sporting superstars who grasp this wisdom – and place their focus on it –  go on to impart great value and their careers continue to flourish.

It takes immense pressure off themselves  –  and guards the fine line between  ”genius” and  ”burn out” .

If only Tiger realised that.

Human Greatness is Sustained Success and Significance.

And Rory is right up there on the right path at age 27 : Made of The Right Stuff .

Making something look effortless and easy requires great effort: Mark .H McCormack

Testing a new combination of clubs after Nike’s decision to stop manufacturing such   – and overcoming an upper back spasm during the opening rounds of the SA Open , Rory showed his mettle- and he had SA golf fans admiring , adopting and adoring him .

Rory is just one of those guys who has all the potent C’s of the great Champions : Charisma, Courage, Character , Culture , Capability, Consistency , Certainty ,Control , Concentration , Commitment, Challenge , Creativity, Confidence and most of all Contribution .

It’s a Champion’s Cocktail which all adds up to what’s referred to in sport as CLASS.

With all his fame and fortune, Rory McIlroy remains old school.

He made good on his promise to Ernie Els to play in the SA Open – honouring a gentleman agreement after Ernie stepped in to support Rory at his own Irish Open in 2014– Ernie having spectacularly won the British Open in 2012 .



Rory is clearly a big fan of THE BIG EASY:

Ernie was the first big, big name I played with as a pro. I have always been a huge fan of his game but I am a bigger fan of the man and to have been able to get to know him and Liezl and the kids over the past few years in Florida has been great.Anything I can do to help Ernie I always will. I actually named my first dog after Ernie – I called him Theo (Els’ first name).

After losing out in a sudden death playoff to Graeme Storm, Rory who has 3 Million twitter followers worldwide tweeted:

We’ve had a trip of a lifetime to @londolozi over the last few days. Great playing @stormygraeme! What a great story after last year. Thanks to @TheBig_Easy and everyone in SA for making this week so special.

South Africa owes a big thank you for two greats of the game – uniting together to grow golf in South Africa and grow  Brand South Africa itself.

Cast your mind back to the year 1994. It was no co incidence that it was Ernie Els who stepped up to the plate to win the US OPEN at Oakmont that year  –  in what’s regarded as one of our country’s greatest years ever  – thanks to Nelson Mandela.

Welgedaan Ernie for putting THE SA OPEN back on the map , as host . Thank you for being a great BRAND SOUTH AFRICA  AMBASSADOR.

Thanks Rory.

See you back soon in sunny South Africa.

As, Rory’s great mentor and Floridian neighbour , Jack Nicklaus,  once said :

Watch out when he has that swagger in his walk

Rob Opie is a Brand Expert, Author, Speaker, and Performance Coach to Business Executives, Corporate teams, Sports teams and Individuals.


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