• BMW PGA Championship

It's time to move on, says McIlroy

Alex Perry at Wentworth
May 21, 2014
"I wasn't ready for marriage"

Two years ago, Rory McIlroy said he had taken his "eye off the ball" following a missed cut at the BMW PGA Championship.

This time he has dropped a huge bombshell on the eve of the European Tour's flagship event by announcing he has split from former tennis world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki.

The timing could not have been worse. McIlroy's record at Wentworth is patchy at best - but the 25-year-old felt he was left with no option than to end the three year relationship.

It's me, not you

Rory McIlroy gave a high-tension press conference ahead of the BMW PGA Championship © Getty Images
  • Earlier on Wednesday, Rory McIlroy, who proposed to Caroline Wozniacki on New Year's Eve, had issued a brief statement through his management company appearing to take full responsibility for the break-up.
  • It read: "The problem is mine. The wedding invitations issued at the weekend made me realise that I wasn't ready for all that marriage entails."
  • The two-time major winner added: "There is no right way to end a relationship that has been so important to two people. I wish Caroline all the happiness she deserves and thank her for the great times we have had. I will not be saying anything more about our relationship in any setting."

"The break up was mutual and amicable and something we thought was best for the both of us," said McIlroy at his press conference which was, rather expectedly, dominated by the news.

"I'm no different to anyone else. Everyone has been through break-ups and it's obviously very, very difficult. It's time to move on and that's all I need to say.

"I just want to get my head into playing golf this week and try and do well.

"I wanted to dive straight in and keep myself busy and try and have a good week on the course.

"I'm not going to lie. Realistically, it will be very difficult, but once I'm inside the ropes I try and concentrate on the shot in hand."

Asked about whether he thought about pulling out, he added: "There was no reason to do that. The break-up won't affect my schedule, which right now is [BMW PGA Championship], Memorial, US Open, Scottish Open and the Open Championship.

"There's no good time to end a relationship but this is the European Tour's flagship event and I'm very proud to be part of the European Tour - they've been very good to me. I gave my word that I would play in this event and I thought it was my duty to be here."

At this point, the tension seemed to get to McIlroy. He paused for a few seconds. "I've said all I need to say. I'm here to concentrate on golf and answer questions on that."

He got his wish.

"I've enjoyed my times here at Wentworth," he said. "It's a beautiful golf course and I have great memories from being here to watch the World Match Play as a kid and playing here as a professional.

"I've struggled on the course since they made the changes but it's important I don't get frustrated and concentrate on playing to my strengths. I can't get frustrated that I might only get to hit my driver two or three times a round and feel that my advantage of my length is taken away from me.

"I have to accept that you have to plot your way around this golf course and not be overly aggressive."

Shortly afterwards, McIlroy took his place on the first tee for the traditional Wednesday pro-am. An ardent Manchester United fan, McIlroy was playing alongside former Old Trafford legends Peter Schmeichel and Teddy Sheringham, as well as Phil Neville.

McIlroy smoked the ball off the tee with little sign that he has anything else on his mind.

But Thursday - and the real thing - is a whole new ball game.

Alex Perry is an assistant editor at ESPN.co.uk. You can follow him on Twitter at @AlexPerryESPN

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