Rory McIlroy ended his relationship with Caroline Wozniacki to focus on his golfing career, according to latest reports.
As confirmed by the Niamh Horan of the Irish Independent, McIlroy’s decision to make the split has left the tennis star in tatters:
The world-class tennis player is said to be "absolutely devastated" by the Irish golfer's decision, having recently made her intentions clear that she wanted to give the relationship another go. [...]
But although he tried his best, friends say, the golfer has finally mind his made up. [sic]
Golfing hero Gary Player believes McIlroy’s call comes in the interest of his career. The South African legend spoke honestly to ESPN, highlighting the difficulty of suffering relationship problems when you’re a world-class sportsman:
If you're a young man like Rory, you can't play with worries.
You can't have managerial problems, you can't have women problems. You've got to be out there and have a free mind. And that's why Arnold [Palmer], Jack [Nicklaus] and I won something like 55 majors between us. Because we had three wives that were very, very special.
McIlroy is thought to have accelerated the decision to dump Wozniacki after the 23-year-old tennis ace posted an embarrassing photo of the Irishman on Twitter.
The post from Sept. 16, which shows McIlroy sleeping with his mouth open, is said to have acted as a catalyst for the decision, per Horan’s report.
Such a situation rounds off a terrible year for McIlroy. The 2011 U.S. Open winner has struggled with readjustments to his swing throughout the season and has served up a number of catastrophic failures on the big stage.
McIlroy’s first-round 79 saw him crash out of the British Open in July. Events at Muirfield echoed his third-round 79 at the Masters, a tournament in which he struggled to finish joint-25th. Even worse, the 24-year-old finished joint 41st on 14 over at the U.S. Open and has looked a far cry from the golfer who shot to the world No. 1 spot.
Many believe the Ulsterman’s decision to ditch Titleist clubs for Nike equipment has impacted his game. As reported by James Corrigan of The Telegraph back in November 2012, Nick Faldo suggested McIlroy’s change in allegiance is purely for monetary gain, and not because of Nike’s superior quality:
The bottom line is he’s doing it for money.
When he looks at a 20-year career it’s not necessary. If he carries on and wins more majors he’ll be worth hundreds of millions anyway. Sure this is a wonderful guarantee but Rory knows the biggest thing is winning golf tournaments.
Will Rory McIlroy's form improve now that he has split from Caroline Wozniacki?
Although McIlroy has denied these claims, the switch has added pressure to a player who was already in the media spotlight.
His two major wins have not only thrust the Northern Irishman to an MBE in his homeland, but he has also become a global icon who represents the future of the sport.
Combine his failed club switch with a public relationship, and it appears Player's comments are on the right track.
McIlroy's poor putting and inability to drive straight over the past year underlines an individual who appears to be lacking focus in his aim to add to his current title haul. He needs to improve quickly or the pressure will increase further still.