RORY McILROY has revealed he has long disliked Roy Keane after the footballer refused him an autograph as a child.
They say you should never meet your heroes and the die-hard Manchester United fan can attest to that after his encounter with Keane left a bitter taste.
McIlroy was speaking about the importance of encouraging youngsters to take up sport and the influence meeting your heroes can have.
“I remember going and watching the World Match Play at Wentworth every October, and getting golf balls from Mark O’Meara or Sam Torrance,” said McIlroy.
“And I remember how good I felt. But I’ve had it go the other way, where I asked someone for an autograph as a kid and they didn’t give it to me.
“And I’ve never liked him since.”
Revealing it was the former United captain, McIlroy said the experience taught him to take time out for young fans.
He added: “It was Roy Keane, who should be one of my heroes as a United player, but I’ve never liked him since.
“I went and asked for his autograph at the Portmarnock Links Hotel when he was with the Ireland squad, and he said no.
"It just sort of stuck with me I guess.
"So that’s why, if a kid asks me for an autograph, I always try to do it.”
McIlroy added that he would give Keane his autograph – but only if the Ireland assistant manager did the same in return.
McIlroy has hit the headlines over the years in relation to his own young fans on the hunt for autographs or sporting souvenirs.
Last month he made this young fan's day when he gave him a golf ball after the British Masters.
— Chris (@Chrell83) 30 September 2017
However in 2014 he came in for criticism when he appeared to snub a young autograph hunter after winning the Open.
However, fellow golfer Ian Poulter later came to the Northern Irishman's defence when he explained that all golfers are asked not to sign autographs until after they have handed in their score cards.
"Rules are rules," he said.
**stirs pot** ROY KEANE. Rory Mcilroy. https://t.co/e3qFZEhcUS
— James Gunn (@The_Gunn_Man) October 5, 2017