Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy has spoken to the media for the first time since reports emerged that he split from tennis star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, who denies the pair have broken up according to a report by Ekstra Bladet, via Eurosport.
McIlroy is currently in Seoul for a tournament but is having to cope with the fallout of his reported split from Wozniacki. It has been suggested, per Mike Dawes and Simon Tomlinson of the Daily Mail, that he ended his relationship with the Danish star due to a picture she tweeted:
When questioned about the reports in South Korea, per Sky Sports, McIlroy responded, "My private life is private and I would like to keep it that way."
Wozniacki was left devastated, per the Telegraph's James Corrigan, as McIlroy ended the relationship before heading to Asia for a month-long tour that will see him net a guaranteed £3 million in appearance fees.
According to a separate report from Corrigan, the Northern Irishman is also involved in a legal battle with former representatives Horizon over commission paid on some of his lucrative sponsorship deals.
It is a tumultuous time for the world No. 6, with swing issues and off-course distractions having contributed to a winless campaign in 2013. Indeed, in his last 10 outings, McIlroy has finished in the top 10 just once.
While McIlroy may be in no mood to talk, 23-year-old Wozniacki has downplayed the reports, dismissing them as rumours to Danish media outlet Ekstra Bladet.
Per Eurosport, Wozniacki said:
I'm so tired of the rumours. They occur every time Rory and I are apart a few days or do not write on Twitter. There is nothing in it, and from now on I just think that I will keep my private life private.
It is so annoying that the media and the so-called sources constantly spread the rumours. They write just what they want.
As previous world No. 1s in their respective sports, Wozniacki and McIlroy have been one of the most marketable celebrity couples in recent sporting history, with photographers following their every move.
Whether or not reports of their split are correct, McIlroy's form in 2013 will be a worry given the successes of his early career.
The Kolon Korea Open this week will provide some respite for the star, with his potentially damaging court case taking place thousands of miles away, but he must forget the distractions and concentrate on returning to top form.
Resolving all the off-course issues in his life at present would go a long way to helping him achieve that aim, whether that sees him continue his long-term romance with Wozniacki or otherwise.