“This is for you, mum,” said Rory, her only child, the Claret Jug safely in his hands after a day of swirling tension. Her eyes brimmed, together with those of a few thousand others in this Hoylake amphitheatre.
It was poignant that she should have been so chosen, given that it is father Gerry who invariably takes the acclaim for his mentoring and guidance after McIlroy’s glories, not least when Rory won the US Open on Father’s Day. But when the prize most coveted of all was seized, it was time for a little maternal redress.
This was, in the most immediate sense, a family celebration, but the swell of adoration for McIlroy here on the outer limits of Merseyside hinted at a far wider resonance. Only one person, some witless fool accused of deliberately coughing on his backswing on the 16th tee, seemed to be urging him to fail, but otherwise the sense prevailed of a crowd – scratch that, an entire country – willing a triumph telegraphed from the cradle to be brought to this dazzling fruition.