Rory McIlroy is set to move back in with his Mum and Dad after deciding to put his luxury Co Down home on the market.
But the world No 1’s manager denied that the decision to sell his €2.3m Moneyreagh pad had any security implications following his controversial comments on feeling “more British than Irish” when discussing his potential allegiance for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Horizon Sports Management’s Conor Ridge said: “This is purely a practical and a commercial decision, there were no security issues whatsoever.”
McIlroy plans to stay at his parents’ Holywood home when back in the province.
However, he confessed in August last year that life in Northern Ireland had become more difficult due to his high profile.
Speaking about life at home some 13 months ago and his intention to rejoin the PGA Tour, McIlroy said: “It is tough and definitely a lot tougher than it was three months ago.
“There have been people driving up the driveway at home, which isn’t very nice, but as I said the other day, it is something I am just going to have to deal with.
“It has a little bit to do with my decision to base myself in America next year. I have had security guards at my house every night since I won the US Open, patrolling around the area. It is something that I just had to put in place, I’m afraid.
“It’s tough but it is just the world we live in unfortunately. If you’re in the position we’re in, you’re so public.”
However, McIlroy revealed yesterday that it was his accountant’s advice and not security concerns that has prompted him to sell his 14-acre estate near Moneyreagh in County Down.
Rarely at home now due to his US Tour commitments, McIlroy said: “Unfortunately, I have had to make the difficult decision to sell my house in Moneyreagh. It has been an extremely difficult decision, as I have invested so much both financially and emotionally in the house and practice facilities there.
“However, with my global tournament schedule and ever-increasing schedule in the US, I am now only making it back home to Northern Ireland for a couple of weeks here and there during the summer months and at Christmas time.”
The five-bedroom house, which boasts a state of the art practice range, an all-weather tennis court/five-a-side football court and a freshwater pond, is expected to sell for over (€2.5m euro) £2m.
McIlroy is believed to have bought the house for the then £2m asking price more than three years ago, when he was based mainly on the European Tour.
Admitting that it’s tough to sell up, he added: “I have had to think long and hard about this and it has been a gut-wrenching decision, but the reality is that it is just not practical for me to own a property like this anymore when I rarely get to use it. My main priority when I get home nowadays is spending time with my friends and family.
“Hanging out with my parents and enjoying my Mum’s home cooking is what I love most about being home in Northern Ireland, so in a funny way, it will suit me to stay with Mum and Dad when I am home in future!”
McIlroy, 23, was celebrating again last week when he won the BMW Championship in Indiana, his third US Tour victory in four outings and last night teed it up in the Tour Championship in Atlanta hoping for a win that would land him the $10m FedEx Cup bonus.
A close friend said: “The facts speak for themselves. Rory is on the road almost 50 weeks of the year and he has not had any time to enjoy the house and the cost of its upkeep and maintenance for such little use are ridiculous.
“His home will always be Northern Ireland and he will return home as much as possible.”
McIlroy currently rents a luxury property in swish West Palm Beach in Florida but it is not expected to buy a US base just yet.