LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Rory McIlroy stepped up his bid to win the BMW PGA Championship after paying his respects to Queen Elizabeth II in a poignant scene at Wentworth on Saturday.
McIlroy joined DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley, fellow players and caddies on the putting green in front of the first tee for a moving two-minute silence before play began.
Billy Horschel, the tournament’s reigning champion, visited nearby Windsor Castle to pay his respects and Australian player Min Woo Lee did the same at Buckingham Palace after the tournament was put on hold on Friday following Queen’s death on Thursday.
With play resuming in a shortened 54-hole event on Saturday, McIlroy saluted the Queen, who was the nation’s long-serving monarch when she passed away aged 96.
“I think growing up in Northern Ireland the Royal Family was part of our culture and you just sort of took it for granted that the Queen is the Queen,” said McIlroy, who met the monarch when he was given his MBE in 2012.
“You don’t realize that there’s going to be kings and queens after that. She was such a steadying figure for the entire country.”
“I was very fortunate. I got to meet her a few years ago and she could not have been nicer. I have the picture of that in my house alongside my MBE, which I am very proud of as well.