Rory McIlroy at his happiest when no one cares about who he is
Golf superstar Rory McIlroy has revealed how he likes the quiet life away from the fairways - and how he's happiest when no one recognises him.
The Co Down man credits fiancé Erica Stoll for helping him strike a balance between his hectic professional lifestyle in front of the glaring eyes of the public and his time at home where he said he wants to be "a normal person".
His days off are usually spent at his £7.5m home in the grandeur of West Palms Beach in Florida, a gated community for the rich and famous where he and his future wife enjoy lives of blissful anonymity.
"I like it best, I suppose, when no one knows who I am," he revealed.
"No one bothers us, because there are so many stars there in their own right, and we can go and do whatever we want."
The Holywood man is also determined to cut out the celebrity circus which follows him, preferring to maintain a low-profile wherever he goes.
His new way of life is a world away from his previous relationship with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, who both seemed at ease with their status of one of the most powerful sporting couples, often making public appearances together.
But in an interview with the Daily Telegraph, he said he had "never been the film-premiere type".
"It's a bit like yin and yang, in terms of what I do on the course and how, when I get home, I'm able to detach myself and just be a normal person," he said. "It's great to have that balance, and Erica has given me that. She has made me realise that this is what I want, what I need.
"I'd never be the film-premiere type. I'm a golfer and I want to be known as a golfer."
He also revealed the he and Stoll are preparing for their wedding next summer after he proposed last November in Paris.
The rumour mill went into overdrive last month after it emerged the pair were getting hitched at Ashford Castle in Co Mayo - one of the couple's favourite spots.
But he refused to confirm the wedding location saying: "We want to keep it to ourselves as much as we possibly can.
"Erica loves Ireland. It's very similar to the place where she grew up, in Rochester, upstate New York, where it's also very green and leafy."
Meanwhile the interview also gave an insight into his jetsetting lifestyle. On the day of Northern Ireland's match against Germany in the Euros, he spent the earlier part of the day at the Royal Dublin golf club with golfing icon Jack Nicklaus, took a flight to Paris for the championship match then jetted off to the Gulf for a night out while booking tickets with childhood friend and fellow Holywood man, Harry Diamond for Anthony Joshua's heavyweight-title fight in London.
The world number four enjoys the finer things in life and remains an ambassador for the luxurious watch brand, Omega.
"Omega are part of the Ryder Cup in the US, and the PGA Championship. They are keen to branch out more into golf and that's a great thing," he said.
He also spoke of the special bond he shares with his mother Rosie, who sacrificed a lot to ensure his success, even working night shifts in a factory to pay for his golfing aspirations.
"My mum was definitely the disciplinarian in the house, the one telling me what to do and what not to do,' he added.
"My dad (Gerry) is the one I go to if I have problems with my golf career, but for anything else I'll always go and talk to my mum. The bond between a mother and a son is very close.'
Touching on one of his most memorable moments in golf when he and Rosie embraced after his victory in the Open at Hoylake in Liverpool, he said she was the first face he picked out from the crowd.
"She was very reluctant,' he recalls.
"She was standing there beside the grandstand and I had to wave her over.
I appreciate that my parents didn't raise their kid to be this incredibly well-known guy.
"They raised me to try to give me the best opportunities in life - and this is what I've done with it."