Belfast Telegraph

Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki split: He's made the right decision

By Una Brankin

That desperate looking pink hair at Augusta last month wouldn't have helped, but something has not been right in the Wozzilroy camp for much longer than that.

Although the golfer claimed, cornily, to have helped his then fiancée with the lurid dye-job – "to match the azaleas" at the famous American golf course – he must have got a fright at the finished result.

Nobody looks good when they're getting their hair coloured, and when it turns out like old bubble-gum chewed by rats, it's time to reach for a wig.

And if, as some reports suggest, the tennis champion had also transformed into an all-out bridezilla, it's no wonder the young fella ran for cover – young being the operative word.

He turned 25 on May 4; she's only 23. It's nearly as bad as Ronan Keating getting married at 21, and the engagement always looked to be built upon shaky foundations.

McIlroy was slow to quash the rumours of their numerous fights, and it was left up to Caroline to respond to last year's speculation that she and McIlroy had split up.

"I can only think that it's maybe the people that don't want us together," she said. "It's sad that some people write stories based on nothing, because obviously we were always strong and we are going strong."

Not long before then I was in the Westbury Hotel lounge in Dublin, sitting next to McIlroy and some friends. I didn't notice him until an excitable German woman approached his table and asked him to pose for a photo with her.

"Sure," he agreed politely.

In the interim, I noticed he was on his smart phone almost all the time – glum – while his friends, including local model and presenter Katie Larmour, chatted over their drinks. Was there trouble in paradise then too?

It was only a couple of months after the big engagement, against the spectacular backdrop of the New Year's Eve fireworks over Sydney Opera House in Australia.

Unfortunately, there's often an empty promise behind a grand gesture – who bets Kim Kardashian and Kanye West will last the distance, despite the rapper renting out the whole AT&T baseball park in San Francisco to pop the question on a giant screen?

At least that flashy twosome are in their 30s. It is very hard for anyone in their 20s to commit, especially a man with a world full of admirers.

We change so much from 20 to our mid 30s, it's a crazy move for any twentysomething to lock themselves into an arrangement that is not rock solid, into a binding contract that cannot be guaranteed to last for life.

Especially when you're in the fast-paced world of top-level sport.

Like Hollywood A-listers, sports stars don't stay in the one place too long. They're spoiled and adored, and have temptation put in their path at every turn.

It's only natural for a young guy – or girl – in that position to want to play the field. There has been no mention of a third party in the Wozzilroy break-up, which Rory claimed was mutual and amicable. And what bride-to-be willingly agrees to a split just days after the wedding invites have been sent out?

Rory will have his critics, the usual brigade who clobber men for being commitment-shy, but he has made the right decision for now, even if there is a reconciliation in the future. In the meantime he is committed – to golf. Like a lot of men I know, actually...

A romance played out in public glare

June 2011

Rory McIlroy clinches his first Major golf title with an eight-shot victory in the US Open. Later that month he meets Caroline Wozniacki, the then world number one in women’s tennis, at the David Haye-Wladimir Klitschko fight in Hamburg.

July 2011:

Rory confirms the end of his six-year relationship with childhood sweetheart Holly Sweeney (right). Holly later said she knew the golfer would leave her for Caroline after he admitted he |“fancied” the tennis star.

August 2011:

Rory mentions his relationship with Caroline on Twitter for the first time

September 2011:

Rory posts a picture of a sand wedge he had given his new girlfriend with the word ‘Wozzilroy’ engraved on it.

2012:

Caroline struggles with form. Her best result in Grand Slams comes in reaching the semi of the Australian Open.

August 2012:

Rory wins his second Major with a brilliant eight-shot victory in the USPGA Championship at Kiawah Island.

January 2013:

Rory signs a £150m deal with Nike to use its full range of golf clubs, balls, clothing and accessories.

September 2013:

Rory is believed to be unhappy after Caroline posts an unflattering photograph online of him sleeping with his mouth open. Speculation is rife in the Press that the couple have split. He also terminates his contract with Dublin-based Horizon Sports Management to form his own management company and the acrimonious split reaches the courts.

October 2013:

Caroline denies that the couple have split, while Rory remains silent.

January 1, 2014:

Rory and Caroline become engaged in Australia over New Year. The announcement from Sydney is made via the couple’s Twitter accounts, accompanied by a photograph of Caroline’s £120,000 cushion cut diamond engagement ring (below).

Rory says: “Happy New Year everyone! I have a feeling it's going to be a great year!! My first victory of 2014 #shesaidyes!!”

Caroline says: “Happy New Year everyone! Rory and I started 2014 with a bang!... I said YES!!!!”

March 2014:

Caroline drops out of the tennis top 10. She is currently ranked 14.

May 2014:

The Danish sports star hints she is prepared to retire from tennis to become a mother. The couple’s wedding invitations are sent out.

May 18, 2014:

Rory posts a picture of the couple having dinner out together in Monte Carlo, where Caroline lives, and he has referred to as “home” .

May 21, 2014:

Rory announces his relationship with Caroline is over. “The problem is mine,” he says. “I wish Caroline all the happiness she deserves and thank her for the great times we've had.”

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