To think of it, he's just another man in a 156-strong field. And the woman along with him is also just another pleasant face amongst a host of others thronging the Barclays Singapore Open. But if you are number one in golf and the lady is placed at number 10 in tennis, it is perhaps not
surprising that the green of the course disappears under the trod of eager fans.
Rory McIlroy came to warm up on the putting green with a bodyguard, his caddy, an agent-type fellow and girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki in tow. Suddenly, it was as if no other action deserved eyeballs at the picturesque Sentosa golf club here. The bodyguard looked around menacingly, McIlroy deigned not to at all. Aloof, he looked only to push a few balls into the hole.
The buzz his presence created soon had the first tee bustling. By the time he got to it, it was choc a block.
Stars make events and the logic of his rumoured million-and-a-half dollars of appearance money made instant sense. Golf courses and the gods of sport, thankfully, are not similarly enthralled by star power. They demand persistent obeisance to their diktats. By the end of the day and completion of two and a half rounds - the event has been hit by intermittent rain on the first two days leading to a packed golfing Saturday - he was placed tied 13th, five shots behind clubhouse leader Thomas Bjorn of Denmark.
Bjorn, 41, was nine-under after carding a 67 in his second round, giving him a great chance to win his first title of the year.
Gaganjeet Bhullar had teed off just 20 minutes before McIlroy to marginal interest and few observers - the number of people looking his way only dwindled as the Indian made his way down the course. He may not be a star yet but his stars and his game seem to be coming together just fine as he finished the day in joint sixth place, with a total of five-under.
The writer's trip has been sponsored by World Sport Group, the promoters of the Barclays Singapore Open