Belfast Telegraph

A year ago he was ready for marriage, now it's girlfriends galore for irresistible Rory

By REBECCA BLACK

A New year - a new burst of speculation about Rory McIlroy's love life.

The star golfer is starting 2015 with a big smile on his face as the world's number one, with a new house and a gorgeous new girlfriend on his arm.

The lucky woman who has bagged one of the world's most eligible young bachelors is reported to be American blonde Erica Stoll.

They are believed to have spent Christmas together in Dublin and New Year's Eve in the romantic Ashford Castle in Co Mayo.

However, the Holywood sports star was back in Belfast on Boxing Day to support the Ulster rugby team as they took on Connacht at Ravenhill, not even flinching when fans burst into a rendition of Sweet Caroline when it was inadvertently played over the stadium tannoy.

It is just a year since Rory was celebrating his engagement to Danish tennis superstar Caroline Wozniacki. He proposed on New Year's Eve and rang in 2014 with his new fiancee. But the joy was short-lived and in May Rory announced he had ended the engagement and their three-year relationship through a brief phone call.

He later put out a statement saying: "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."

Since then Rory has been linked to a number of beauties from across the world.

First was Lisburn girl Sasha Gale just a couple of months after breaking off his engagement.

He was also linked with Irish model Nadia Forde in July but insisted that golf was his girlfriend.

Nevertheless Rory was then linked with South African model Shashi Naidoo in September. But New Yorker Erica Stoll appears to be the one who has captured the golf star's heart.

The pair were spotted walking arm in arm along Grafton Street on December 29.

On New Year's Eve, Rory is believed to have pulled out all the stops and flown Erica on a helicopter ride around the Aran Islands before checking into Ashford Castle to celebrate the start of 2015 together with a bottle of champagne in their suite.

Erica is a volunteer with the PGA and lives in the same exclusive enclave of Palm Beach in Florida where Rory also owns a home. They are understood to have known each other for several years from the golf circuit.

It has been reported that she was the one who raised the alarm at the 2012 Ryder Cup that Rory was not on the course when he had been running late.

Caroline appeared more reflective on New Year's Eve, tweeting a link to the quote: "Isn't it crazy how we can look back a year ago and realise how much everything has changed? The amount of people that have left your life, entered and stayed. The memories you won't forget and the moments you wish you did. Everything. It's crazy how all that happened in just one year."

Meanwhile, Rory has been directing renovations to his new home, a stunning mock Tudor mansion on the Holywood coastline.

Rory paid £2.5m for the property which boasts spectacular views across Belfast Lough.

Story so far

Since suddenly splitting from tennis star Caroline Wozniacki last year, Rory McIlroy's love life has become as closely followed as his remarkable golf career. The couple were set to wed late last year but in May Rory called it off with an abrupt statement saying "the problem is mine". He has since been linked with Northern Irish model Sasha Gale, South African model Shashi Naidoo, I'm A Celebrity star Nadia Forde and now American PGA volunteer Erica Stoll.

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