Rory McIlroy: 'I'm very happy with my love life... the last six months with Erica Stoll were great'
Rory McIlroy has stepped out in public for the first time in Northern Ireland with his stunning new girlfriend.
After a disastrous golfing week at the Irish Open, the 26-year-old walked hand-in-hand around the Royal County Down course with Erica Stoll, a 29-year-old from Palm Beach, Florida.
The Holywood man revealed that things were "going great" for the loved-up pair.
The golfing star also revealed that months after splitting with professional tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, he had found new love with the American blonde beauty.
The eight-month relationship is getting serious as she arrived in Northern Ireland this weekend for the tournament and to meet his parents, Gerry and Rosie.
Erica, who is a PGA (Professional Golfers' Association) employee, has been friends with Rory for some two years before they started dating.
Speaking candidly about his blossoming relationship, he said: "I am very happy in my love life.
"We haven't really been putting it out there. She is from America, which is why I like to spend time in Palm Beach. The past six or seven months have been really nice. That part of my life is going great.
"I have known her for three years and we are good friends... If everything off the golf course is good, it allows you to be better on it as well."
Rumours began circulating that the pair were an item when they celebrated the new year together at Ashford Castle in Co Mayo.
The world number one golfer shared a picture on Instagram of that night of a bottle of champagne with two glasses.
Last month the pair were spotted out on a dinner date at 2Vine in downtown Rochester, New York, where Stoll is originally from. In an interview with The Times newspaper, he spoke of the sacrifice his parents made to help him achieve his golfing dreams.
He added: "I always remember my dad working three different jobs, for more than 90 hours a week. He only got Wednesday nights and Sunday afternoons off and I am sure he would have loved to sit in the house and relax, but I would drag him to the golf course or the driving range.
"All the way through my youth, he did what I wanted to do rather than what he wanted to do. My mum was the same, working round the clock to help pay for my tournaments when I got to nine or 10."
Rory said that Erica was recovering from a stomach bug while he was playing in the WGC-Cadillac Match Championship. He said at the time: "She was really sick and was suffering badly from food poisoning."
Last week, Rory's former fiancee took to Twitter to reveal her housewife skills.
Caroline Wozniacki posted on her Twitter page: "Spending most of the day in the kitchen being a real housewife. Nothing better than freshly baked bread rolls and cinnamon buns!"