Four Lurgan lads were the catalysts for a history-making picture which is being shared the world over.
With Europe having secured the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles on Sunday, Rory McIlroy was passed an Ulster flag which read ‘G Mac and Wee Mac’.
The flag came all the way from Lurgan, but while gaining worldwide exposure, the bad news is it’s likely the owners will never see it again.
Ian Penny, who was in attendance on the Saturday and Sunday with mates Greig Stewart, Chris Humphries and Paul Rippon, told the ‘MAIL’ of the flag’s origins.
He said: “The flag was Greig’s idea. He got it in his dad’s shop (Victor Stewart Enterprises) and put the ‘G Mac and Wee Mac’ on it.”
He continued: “We’d been at the sixth hole most of day on Sunday but at the end we went down to the 18th. There was a guy we knew from Lurgan, Richard Kittson, and he said he’d make sure Rory got the flag. Sure enough he spoke to one of the stewards and got the flag passed on to Rory.
“He was walking about with it and then they went in before the presentation. We thought he might have brought it back out again, but when they came out they had the Europe flag.
“We thought that was the last we’d see of it, but later we saw that they’d used the flag for a picture that has been shared all over.”
The flag isn’t the only link between Rory and the town. His mum Rosie grew up in Lurgan before marrying Gerry McIlroy and moving to Holywood.
Ian said: “We brought the flag to support the Northern Ireland boys and also to be able to spot ourselves on TV. We never thought it would go viral. One of the boys has contacted them (McIlory and McDowell) on Twitter to ask them to sign it and send it back!”
Ian, Greig, Chris and Paul are all members of the Institute Golf Society and both Ian and Greig play for Hill Street.
Ian said: “It was an absolutely amazing weekend. Thanks go to Greig who did all the donkey work over a year ago to set it up. We’ll definitely be back, but it’ll be a while before they’re in the UK again.”