VIRGINIA WATER, ENGLAND | At the 2007 Walker Cup Rory McIlroy was a pale figure with a bundle of curly hair, a boyish modesty and softly-spoken charm that made him blush easily. At Wentworth six years later, McIlroy was the same pale figure with a bundle of curly hair and a boyish modesty but now he was the central character in a minor drama that had been going on for three weeks. Once Sergio García and George O’Grady had wrenched attention away from McIlroy with their verbal clangers, the Northern Irishman may have thought that one man’s thunderstorm was another man’s rainbow. For three weeks, McIlroy had been the centre of speculation that he had split with Horizon, his management company, to set up his own organisation involving Sean O’Flaherty, his colleague at Horizon, an accountant from the firm, and Gerry, Rory’s father. No big deal about that. It wasn’t long ago that he left ISM at short notice and completely against the run of play. But from the moment the rumours had first started, McIlroy’s demeanour changed. He became tight-lipped and evasive on this subject, economical with the truth, actually. And the striking thing was how out of character it was. McIlroy does not look open-faced and honest for nothing. He is open-faced and honest. He appears to be a young man with Irish charm and when you get to know him you discover he is a young man with Irish charm. He has not seemed to duck issues in the past. When he has wanted to break contracts, such as with his trainer or a sponsor, he has done so either face-to-face or in a telephone conversation. He has a winning way of dismissing difficult questions with a rueful smile. He has been sure-footed on issues that many others would have stumbled over. Even the thorny one of which country he would represent in the 2016 Olympic Games – Great Britain or Ireland – did not seem to tax him particularly.