Man United mad Rory McIlroy is planning to make a jet-set getaway to see the Red Devils in next month’s Champions League final.
But the Holywood hotshot’s got a major date of his own today when he takes on TPC Sawgrass in real life instead of on his PlayStation.
Making his debut in the $9.5 million Players Championship just days after turning 20, the mop-top star is gunning for victory on a course he’s finding far tougher than the video game.
He said: “It’s different, a lot different. I've shot 54 on the game but you get up holes like the par-five 11th and on the computer game you can drive up to that big tree on the right and it’s 150 yards to the green.
“I hit a good driver yesterday and was still hitting a 5-wood in and was thinking this isn’t quite like it is on the PlayStation.”
McIlroy isn’t at Sawgrass to make up the numbers and while he's the youngest player in the field, he knows he has the ball-striking skills to become the youngest winner since Adam Scott won at 23 in 2004.
McIlroy said: “I’m not looking to learn anything, I’m looking to go out and try and play well and try and win.
“The premium to this golf course has always been hitting to fairways and greens. Good ball strikers have always done well here. If I am able to do that this week I’ll have a good chance I think.”
McIlroy treated himself and his pals to a trip to Las Vegas to see Ricky Hatton in action but hopes to top that with a trip to the Champions League final in Rome on the eve of the European Open in Kent on May 27.
He said: “I might fly to Rome for that and ask for a late tee time on the Thursday. I’m sure there’s be a few guys who will be up for it. Maybe six or eight of us in a jet, divide it and go out and see it.
“If Barcelona beat Chelsea tonight, I’ll definitely think about going because it probably with be the best two teams in European going for it.”
As for the Hatton fight, he's happy he's a golfer not a fighter.
He said: “I’m glad I wasn’t Ricky Hatton but I’ve never been to an arena with so much atmosphere. I was shaking for those six minutes. It was just incredible, great to be there.
“The support Ricky had was unbelievable. We were going to go to his after-party if he’d won, but that didn’t happen. “I flew a couple of friends out and we flew from Vegas to here in a private jet, just a little treat for myself.”