Rory McIlroy tells how he proposed to Erica Stoll and describes her as a 'calming presence'
Rory McIlroy has spoken for the first time about his proposal to fiancee Erica Stoll and described her as being a "calming presence".
The world number three golfer from Holywood recently popped the question in Paris.
He had kept the details surrounding his recent engagement to the 27-year-old quiet, but speculation that he had taken their relationship to the next level was confirmed when she was spotted with a huge sparkling ring at the The Paddy Wallace Fund for Autism Christmas Ball in Titanic Belfast.
Rory and Erica met when she came to the golfer's rescue at the Ryder Cup at Medinah in October 2012. The golfer mixed up his tee time and was only saved from disqualification after she noticed his error and arranged a police escort to the course.
They were then spotted as a couple nearly a year ago, with the pair ringing in the New Year in style at Ashford Castle in Co Mayo.
She formerly worked for the Professional Golfers' Association of America, and lives in Florida.
'I wouldn't say I proposed in the traditional way'
Speaking about his engagement for the first time at the Facebook offices in Dublin, he said: "I wouldn’t say I did it in the traditional way, no.
“We had planned to go to Paris since May; we were always going to go. Then what happened a few weeks before made us unsure. But when we got there it felt great.
"People were just getting on with things and I thought [the proposal] might make the trip even better. So we went out for dinner and that was that. It was a special way to end the year.”
Comparisons were inevitably drawn after McIlroy famously publicly broke off his engagement with Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki in 2014 after the wedding invites were sent out.
'Erica has a calming presence, a sereneness'
The Holywood man described his bride-to-be as a "very low-key person" and said she brings "such a level of normality to everything".
He said: "Erica has obviously been around quite a lot, at tournaments this year, but we have really just tried to keep it low key.
“She is a very low-key person, not the kind to broadcast stuff, but that side of my life is obviously really, really good just now. We are excited, our parents are excited, so it is a really happy time.
“For me, Erica brings such a level of normality to everything. She has a calming presence, a sereneness and that’s not just on me; it is noticeable in any company.
"She has been a great influence on me and has given such a great balance to my life; between who I am when people see me out here and who I am at home.”
'It is all about balance'
Rory has had an eventful year, he won three times including the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai last month to successfully defend his Race to Dubai crown - an honour he also claimed for a third time since 2012.
But he missed five weeks of the summer with an ankle injury sustained playing football and was forced to pull out of The Open Championship at St Andrews.
He was also recently named the European Tour Golfer of the year for the third time.
But he doesn't see the wedding plans as a distraction as he says it makes it "easier" for him to go out and play.
He said: "Look, I’m all for people scrutinising my golf or even for criticising me for going to play football.
"Again, it is about balance and that makes it so much easier to go out and play because that side of things is calm.”