Rory McIlroy has earmarked a 13-year-old teenager as a potential great.
Tom McKibbin, who is just 13-years-old, already has a rather decorated golfing career behind him.
In August 2015 he won the World Junior Championships aged 12.
Then, in 2016 he claimed the Junior Honda Classic in Florida.
McIlroy, who has invited the Northern Irish prodigy to play with him in the pro-am ahead of the Irish Open on May 18, was full of praise for the 13-year-old’s game.
— Rory Foundation (@roryfoundation) May 2, 2016
“Tom McKibbin is a great talent,” said McIlroy, whose foundation is hosting the Irish Open for the second year.
“I played a round with Tom in Florida recently and he is the real deal.
“At only 13 years of age I think he has a remarkable golfing future ahead of him. Having seen him play a couple of times now, he impresses me more each time. And I can think of no better place to showcase his talents than at the Irish Open at the K Club.”
McKibbin, who is from County Antrim, is understandably chomping at the bit to get out there and rub shoulders with McIlroy again – the pair played together during practice for the World Golf Championship in Texas in March.
“I met Rory while I was in Dubai last October and we got chatting while we were both practicing,” McKibbin said.
“When I won the Honda Classic in Florida in January, Rory sent me a message and invited me to play golf with him.
“I have to thank Rory for inviting me to play in the pro-am at the Irish Open. Not only do I get a day off school, but I get to play alongside one of the best golfers in the world!
“It’s getting close now and I’m pretty excited. I’ve been practicing as often as possible.”
— Tom ? (@tommckibbin8) May 2, 2016