McIlroy plans trip to Haiti before US Open

Rory McIlroy is making a detour before going to the U.S. Open,
traveling to Haiti next week as part of his work with UNICEF.

McIlroy signed on as one of Ireland’s ambassadors to UNICEF in
March, saying he looked forward to working with the children’s
charity and making a field visit.

He chose Haiti as his first trip, a country still trying to
recover from last year’s devastating earthquake.

The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland, who opened with a 66 to
share the first-round lead at the Memorial on Thursday, will go to
Haiti on Monday and Tuesday for what he said ”should be an
eye-opening experience.”

”It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I signed up with UNICEF
at the start of the year,” McIlroy said. ”I’m looking forward to
it.”

The trip will be part of a week of two extremes for the golfer.
McIlroy will go straight from Haiti to the Washington area for two
days of practice at Congressional Country Club for the U.S. Open.
Then, after a day with a corporate sponsor, he plans to spend the
weekend at Pine Valley Golf Club in New Jersey before heading to
the next major championship.

McIlroy said he first became interested in working with UNICEF
through its partnership with Barcelona’s football club. The team’s
star player, Lionel Messi, is one of UNICEF’s international
ambassadors.

”You want to associate yourself with a charity that you feel
close to,” McIlroy said. ”And I feel like I’m the sort of age
that I can relate to younger people. I just don’t want to put my
name on it. I wanted to do something, and they were very keen for
me to go and see somewhere where they’re hands-on.

”It just fit in quite well that I could go to Haiti for a
couple of days and see what they do.”