The Irish Mail on Sunday
Invasive Twitter pics: for Rory and Caroline
by a record eight strokes, and ended 2012 by winning the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. It was a spectacular confirmation of his genius.
What went wrong after that is open to speculation. He parted ways with his management company and ended up in a court case over who had the right to represent him and precisely what slice of his earnings they were entitled to. He stormed out of last year’s Honda Classic and then, in what should have been a triumphant return to home turf, he missed the cut on the Friday night at the Irish Open in Carton House. He abandoned the Titleist clubs he had always played with when he signed a sponsorship deal with Nike and his game suffered. ‘Rory very simply messed with a winning formula,’ veteran golfer Nick Faldo said. ‘He had an equipment company [with which] he went from rookie of the year to world No. 1 and thought he could start again.’ Indeed, that’s what he now proposes to do in his personal life. History shows all may not be lost – he and Holly split up once and got back together, but he was little more than a teenager then and he is 25 now, with the world at his fingertips. Maybe he and Caroline also will reconcile; stranger things have happened.
He is a man who seems able to park his emotions, though occasionally they bubble to the surface. The photo of him and Caroline last week at a London café, both with their heads bowed, maybe presaged this week’s turmoil, and his press conference showed that even he has difficultycompletelycompartmentalising his life off the course. The biggest clue to his thoughts came in the statement that 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. I wish Caroline all the happiness she deserves and thank her for the great times we’ve had.’
It was short but generous and it was
A golfer should be practising, not jetting around to offer support
a clear acceptance that while his maturity on the course is indisputable, there perhaps isn’t enough time to give to other areas of his life right now.
For the past three years, he has followed his girlfriend as she tried to reclaim form in her own sport, but a golfer with free time really should be practising golf, not jetting around the world to offer support. No matter how admirable a personal trait that may be.
McIlroy still has years left in him to settle down and when he does, it may well be with a woman who is just as driven as he is. He was very supportive of Holly when she was getting her college degree, so he certainly doesn’t seem to be the sort of man who is threatened by a partner who is successful in her own right.
On that basis, it would seem that the real issue was timing, not of his relationship with Caroline but of the unnecessary rush to formalise it. They could have had a much longer engagement, or maybe just left well enough alone before buying the ring at all.
For now, golf fans will hope that the passion McIlroy has shown in his relationships also returns to his game. Maybe Caroline will regain her form too, now that she has dropped to 14th in the world rankings.
And maybe both will realise keeping some things private may pay dividends in the long run. Certainly, it would be a brave woman indeed who ever again tweets a picture of Rory McIlroy asleep in her bed.