Only days after sending out invitations to his upcoming wedding with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, Irish golfing sensation Rory McIlroy announced Wednesday that the couple would split. Perhaps overwhelmed by the permanence insinuated by the delivery of the invitations, McIlroy admitted to the media that he realized “I wasn’t ready for all that marriage entails.” McIlroy had earlier issued a statement saying that there was no “right way to end a relationship” which had been so important to both of them.
McIlroy, 25, and the 23-year-old Wozniacki had been dating for two years, and had announced their engagement in Australia just last New Year’s Eve. They were to have married later this year in New York. McIlroy issued the statement Wednesday morning, then met with reporters just hours later at Wentworth, where he is preparing to play in the BMW PGA Championship, the flagship event on the European Tour. Calling it quite a difficult time for him and Caroline, McIlroy said the breakup was “mutual and amicable and we both thought it was for the best,” adding that “it was time to move on…I just want to get my head into golf this week and concentrate on the tournament and try and do well.” Wozniacki’s next event will be May 25 as she begins competition in the French Open.
McIlroy has two major titles in his young career, winning the US Open in 2011 and the PGA Championship in 2012. He is currently No. 10 in the Official World Golf Rankings and has finished in the top ten in six of his eight tournaments this year on the PGA Tour. His best finish is a tie for runner-up in the Honda Classic. Wozniacki is ranked 13th in the world in women’s tennis and, even though she has no grand slam titles, did reach the finals of the US Open in 2009. Both have been ranked No. 1 in their respective sports.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be very difficult but at least, when I get inside the ropes, I can just try and concentrate on the shot at hand,” McIlroy said when asked how he was going to handle playing an important tournament after such a big change in his life. Looking especially uncomfortable when asked about whether he ever considered pulling out of the tournament, McIlroy fidgeted, hemmed and hawed before answering “I made a commitment to be here at the European Tour’s flagship event…the European Tour has been very good to me and I thought it was my duty to come back and play in this event,” adding that “once I gave my word that I would, I wasn’t going to go back on that.”
The young Irishman must have felt some of the same angst Tiger Woods felt a few years ago, as he hinted that he wanted to move on to questions that were more about his game this week, “I’m no different than anyone else. Everyone has been through breakups and it’s obviously very, very difficult. I’m here to try and concentrate on this week and answer questions about golf and that’s what I’m going to do.”
He will probably have to answer those same question from the US media next week in Dublin, Ohio. McIlroy is scheduled to play in the Jack Nicklaus Memorial tournament May 29 before competing in the US Open at Pinehurst, NC on June 12.
Golf Shots is a daily series which provides analysis and commentary on the PGA tour and golf-related topics all year long.
Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky