McIlroy plans trip to Haiti before US Open

BY foxsports • June 2, 2011

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.''

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