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Rory McIlroy Explained How He Became Friends With Pep Guardiola

Rory McIlroy Explained How He Became Friends With Pep Guardiola
By PJ Browne Updated

Belfast's Waterfront Hall saw a curious lineup on Tuesday night. Sitting on stage were Rory McIlroy and Man City manager Pep Guardiola.

The pair, from different parts of the sporting map, were being interviewed by actor James Nesbitt. All had gathered for a charity event in support of McIlroy's 'Rory Foundation'.

The Spaniard's time in the North would not end with his appearance at the Waterfront. On Wednesday, he played a round of golf alongside McIlroy for the Irish Open ProAm at Portstewart.

Exactly how McIlroy and Guardiola became friends, the world number four explained yesterday.

It began at the 2012 Ryder Cup, 'The Miracle at Medinah', while the former Barcelona manager was taking an extended break before he became Bayern Munich boss. McIlroy's father spent the three days of the event walking the Illinois course with Guardiola.

My relationship with Pep started at The Ryder Cup in 2012. He was there. That was sort of his sabbatical year from management. He loves his golf. He went to the Masters that year. Went to The Ryder Cup. Struck up a bit of a relationship.

Actually Pep and my dad, basically, walked all three days together and my dad is a huge City fan at that time he was asking, Pep, when are you going to come manage City, and obviously he got his wish four years later I guess. That's how it started.

Earlier this year, while in Manchester, McIlroy met Guardiola for lunch and asked if he would make an appearance at the Irish Open.

Then I caught up with him sort of in March or April this year. I actually used a facility, the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance, to do some testing, and it's right beside's City's training grounds. So I caught up for lunch with him and asked if he would come over; we would love to have him and to play in the Pro-Am and obviously to have a chat last night, which he did. He's very generous with his time.

I think everyone enjoyed it. He told some great stories and it was a great night for, as I said, a very worthy cause and we're very grateful for him to coming over and doing that.

Despite his friendship with Guardiola, Man Utd fan McIlroy said he will not be converted from red to blue.

No, definitely not. My dad is a City fan. That's as far as it will go in our house.

Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

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