Irish golfer Rory McIlroy has been in top form ever since his May breakup with longtime girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki. Speaking to the Daily Mail in the days ahead of his victory on Sunday at the PGA Championship, the 25-year-old golfer admitted that the end of his engagement was crucial in sharpening his focus on the golf course.
“I think what happened has been for the better in terms of my golf,” McIlroy said Friday. “I’ve put a bit more time into it and it has refocused me. I mean, what else do I have to do now? I go to the golf course, I got to the gym, and it’s just my life at the moment.”
“I worked pretty hard before, but the past couple of months I’ve really just buried myself in my game. It obviously works pretty well, so I am going to keep doing it,” he added.
McIlroy and Wozniacki, a star tennis player herself, began dating in 2011 and announced their engagement on New Year’s Day. But then McIlroy said in May that the impending release of his wedding invitations made him realize that he wasn’t ready to commit to her. “The problem is mine. The wedding invitations issued at the weekend made me realize 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.”
Shortly after the breakup, Wozniacki suffered an upset loss to Yanina Wickmayer at the 2014 French Open. After the event, the 23-year-old admitted that the end of her engagement had affected her on-court performance. “You’re not prepared for something like this, and it came as a bit of a shock,” she told reporters at the time. “I just tried to prepare the best that I could and really tried to focus on my match and on what I had to do out there.”
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McIlroy held off strong efforts from Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson to win the 96th PGA Championship on Sunday at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. The victory marked the Northern Irishman’s third consecutive win following sharp performances at the British Open and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. By winning at Valhalla, McIlroy joined Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers to win their fourth major by age 25.