Belfast Telegraph

Padraig Harrington: Rory McIlroy was very brave to call off marriage to Caroline Wozniacki

By Cormac Byrne

Golfer Padraig Harrington has praised fellow player Rory McIlroy's bravery for calling off his marriage to Caroline Wozniacki.

Harrington said witnessing the wedding invites go out is a grounding experience for any man and clearly shook McIlroy.

"Seeing the invites go out must have been a big reality check for him – it is for any man," Harrington said.

"Having friends call you up and say, 'Got the invite' makes it real.

"He probably realised at the age of 24 he just wasn't ready for that. It was a big decision, it was a brave decision and I think it was the right decision.

"I feel sorry for Caroline. It's tough for both of them, but if you're not ready, you're not ready."

Harrington said the Co Down golfer's recent victory at Wentworth in the BMW PGA Championship will have helped him cope during this difficult period of his life.

"With everything that has happened off the golf course, winning was the best antidote, it'll keep him going forward. The win was so big for him this time," he said.

Harrington said that the 25-year-old had taken the tough decision to opt out of the relationship rather than take the easier path and continue.

"Everybody was surprised. I'm sure Rory and Caroline surprised themselves," the Dubliner said at the launch of his new clothing line in collaboration with Dunnes Stores.

"It was a brave decision, there are many people who have gone through with things that they feel in hindsight that they shouldn't have.

"It really was a big decision to call it off and to take all that heat and pressure and stress. It would have been simpler to keep going.

"I'm sure it was very difficult for the both of them and it being played out in the media is tough as well.

"I'm sure that's what he felt he had to do and he realised when those invites went out that he just wasn't ready for it."

It has also been reported that McIlroy broke up with Wozniacki in a three-minute phone call just hours after he professed his love for her.

The pair had announced their engagement on New Year's Eve.

According to the Times, Caroline thought the call was a joke at first and she had no idea their relationship was troubled when McIlroy flew from their apartment in Monaco to play in Surrey.

The day before the break-up, Rory had told her how much he loved her, the paper reported.

After crashing out of the French Open on Tuesday, the Dane said: "Obviously you're not prepared for something like this, and it came as a bit of a shock."

She had reportedly even tried on her wedding dress.

McIlroy decline to answer questions about the phone call at Muirfield Village Golf Club on Wednesday.

Asked why he felt compelled to announce that he and Wozniacki had broken up, Rory replied: "Honestly, 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 rumours, just to have it right there as soon as possible."

Asked to respond to what Caroline said about the call, Rory replied: "I'm here to talk about my golf."

When he announced the split last week, Rory said in a statement: "The problem is mine. The wedding invitations issued at the weekend made me realise that I wasn't ready for all that marriage entails.

"There is no right way to end a relationship that has been so important to two people. I wish Caroline all the happiness she deserves and thank her for the great times we have had."

Background

Golfer Rory McIlroy began dating Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki in summer 2011.

The pair became engaged over New Year in Sydney, Australia, but then last Wednesday Rory dramatically announced the end of their engagement and relationship, saying he was not ready for marriage.

Both were world number ones in their respective sports when they met.

But each experienced a dip in form during their relationship.

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