May 28, 2014
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- McIlroy is looking for his second win in as many starts after announcing his breakup with Caroline Wozniacki. (Richard Kinnaird/Getty Images)
DUBLIN, Ohio -- His face between his hands at times, the normally affable Rory McIlroy looked about as uncomfortable as he has ever been behind a microphone.
A report by the The Times of London suggested McIlroy had split with fiancee Caroline Wozniacki in a three-minute phone conversation. "I'm here to talk about my golf," McIlroy said when asked about it.
Asked if it would have been easier to not issue a statement over the breakup, McIlroy added, "I don't know. It's one of those things that it was a very public relationship and I thought it was best that ‑‑ instead of letting it linger and rumors, just to have it right there as soon as possible."
If nothing else, McIlroy, who called off his engagement to Wozniacki a little over a week ago and after wedding invitations had already gone out, can find at least some solace inside the ropes.
He did last week, anyway, winning the European Tour's flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, where he came from seven shots back on the final day for his first victory on that tour in two years.
The former world No. 1 hopes to keep that momentum going at this week's Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance, where he has twice finished in the top 10, including a tie for fifth in 2011.
Last week's victory was also something of a confidence boost and the culmination of what has been a good but unfulfilling season. Prior to the win, McIlroy had six top 10s in seven stroke-play starts on the PGA TOUR this season.
"I think it was very important," McIlroy said. "I think I showed quite a lot of mental strength or focus or whatever you want to call it last week during the whole tournament. And when I really needed to play well and hole some putts and get it up‑and‑down when I needed to, I was able to do it. It was nice to be able to close it out in the way that I did."
It's also not the first time McIlroy has had to put a sticky situation behind him.
Last year, he walked off the course in the middle of his second round at The Honda Classic, at first citing a toothache and later mental fatigue.
He also came under scrutiny when he struggled after making an equipment change that came with a multi-million dollar contract that offseason.
And before turning 25 he twice switched management companies -- the second of which led to him admitting last year, "I've seen more lawyers this year than I care to see in my entire life."
In each of those instances he met the inevitable challenges mostly head-on and was able to move on, the latter of which he is trying to focus on doing now.
"I think there's been a few things that have happened in my life in the last couple of years that have been huge learning processes," McIlroy said. "I think every time you fear some sort of adversity like that you learn from it and you become more mature and you make better decisions the next time. And in that way I'm definitely learning and I'm maturing.
"On the course, I'm really happy with how I don't let runs get away from me anymore and I can fight back and I don't let my shoulder slump or my head get down. I'm proud of myself in that way on the golf course."
Rory McIlroy comments before the Memorial Tournament