“I’m ready to play this week” – McIlroy refuses to answer divorce questions but is not distracted

Ronan MacNamara

Rory McIlroy (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Ronan MacNamara

Feature Interviews

Latest Stories

It’s business as usual for Rory McIlroy at this year’s PGA Championship at Valhalla, despite not answering any questions about his private life.

McIlroy’s pre-Masters press conference last month was a brief eleven minutes. His Wednesday media briefing was cut to an even shorter, nine awkward minutes with just seven questions fielded from the floor.

The build up to the season’s second major has been overshadowed by the news that McIlroy filed for divorce from Erica Stoll after seven years of marriage, but for McIlroy it’s full focus on ending a ten-year wait for a fifth major title. He is here and ready to play.

The four-time major winner was spared any questions about his divorce by the PGA press officer.

“I believe you all saw the statement yesterday from Rory’s communication team specifically that he will not be making any additional comments on his private life, so thank you all for respecting his wishes,” the PGA invigilator said.

Still, the media present at the press conference did try to swerve around the elephant in the room.

Asked about his energy levels, “and just on a personal level, how are you doing?”, McIlroy paused and said bluntly: “I’m ready to play this week.”

There is a sense of de ja vu surrounding McIlroy in Valhalla this week. Ten years ago on this very golf course he arrived following back-to-back wins (2014 Open, 2014 Bridgestone Invitational) and this year he arrives at the site of his last major triumph following back-to-back PGA Tour wins.

He also had a relationship break down ten years ago when he announced ahead of the BMW PGA Championship in Wentworth that his engagement to tennis superstar Caroline Wozniacki was off. That was also in the month of May, McIlroy won that very week.

Have the stars aligned in the most bizarre way for McIlroy?

“I feel good,” said McIlroy, who was joined in morning practice round by his father, Gerry.

“Obviously had a great day on Sunday at a golf course that I’ve grown to love over the years and had a lot of success at, coming to a venue where I’ve had some success at before as well.

“Obviously get to go back to Quail Hollow every year. Don’t really get to come back here too much. Today was the first time I was on the golf course since ten years ago, so it was good to refamiliarise myself with the place.

“The golf course is a little different than it was ten years ago, a little longer. A couple little minor changes but for the most part pretty much the same that I can remember from ten years ago.

“But yeah, look, game feels good coming off the back of two wins, a fun one in New Orleans with Shane, and then a really good performance last week. Just trying to keep the momentum going.”

McIlroy also weighed in on the resignation of Jimmy Dunne from the PGA Tour board, stating it is a huge loss for the tour and he is concerned for the future of the tour following the news.

“Yeah, honestly I think it’s a huge loss for the PGA TOUR, if they are trying to get this deal done with the PIF and trying to unify the game.

“Jimmy was basically “the” relationship, the sort of conduit between the PGA TOUR and PIF. It’s been really unfortunate that he has not been involved for the last few months, and I think part of the reason that everything is stalling at the minute is because of that.

“So it is, it’s really, really disappointing, and you know, I think the TOUR is in a worse place because of it. We’ll see. We’ll see where it goes from here and we’ll see what happens.

“But you know, I would say my confidence level on something getting done before last week was, you know, as low as it had been and then with this news of Jimmy resigning and knowing the relationship he has with the other side, and how much warmth there is from the other side, it’s concerning.”

Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!

More News

Leave a comment

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy & Terms of Service apply.