Water Rides, Turtle Rehab & Golf - Rory McIlroy in Dubai

Back in February of 2009, Rory McIlroy had his first European Tour win at the tender age of 19.  He was instantly ordained The New Sensation, impressing everyone with his gutsy game and candid, casual style.  The win came at the Dubai Desert Classic and earned him a multitude of fans, in middle east and around the world.

Two years later the affable player from Northern Ireland has firmly established himself as one of the game's most promising young guns, having now won on on the PGA Tour,  and made his way into the top ten in the world rankings.  A few months ago he represented Europe in the Ryder Cup.  And he's had quite a few Jagerbombs a bit of well-documented fun along the way... which I think is one of the things that make him so appealing.  The youthful Ulsterman seems to have a remarkable ability to enjoy his downtime.

Right now, he's back in Dubai... scene of his breakthrough win... getting ready to take to the fairways of Emirates Golf Club later this week, taking on the world's best golfers in the 22nd Dubai Desert Classic.   But...true to form... young Rory is finding time to fit some non-golf awesomeness into his schedule:  A couple of days ago he fed sharks at the Dubai Aquarium and helped out with their Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project.  Later on... in keeping with the aquatic theme... he hit the funnels and slides at Wild Wadi Water Park.

No question about it, the kid knows how to get the most out of life... on and off the golf course.  Go Rory!

Photos by David Cannon/Getty Images Europe