McIlroy looking to focus on golf
12:28pm Wednesday 21st May 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Rory McIlroy insisted he had not thought about withdrawing from the BMW PGA Championship despite breaking off his engagement to Caroline Wozniacki just days after sending out wedding invitations.
McIlroy announced on Wednesday morning that his relationship with former world number one tennis player Wozniacki was over because he was not ready for marriage.
"There is no right way to end a relationship that has been so important to two people," McIlroy said in a statement. "The problem is mine. The wedding invitations issued at the weekend made me realise that I wasn't ready for all that marriage entails.
"I wish Caroline all the happiness she deserves and thank her for the great times we've had. I will not be saying anything more about our relationship in any setting."
Despite that warning, McIlroy did answer questions at his scheduled pre-tournament press conference at Wentworth.
Looking drained and emotional, the 25-year-old two-time major winner said: "Obviously (it's) quite a difficult time for Caroline and myself and I think the statement really said it all this morning. It was mutual and amicable and we both thought it was the best for both of us. Time to move on and I think I've said all that I need to say.
"I just want to get my head into golf this week and concentrate on the tournament and try and do well. (I've) been playing well. The form's been good. Just want to dive straight into it and keep myself somewhat busy and just try and have a good week on the course.
"I'm not going to lie. It's going to be very difficult. But you know, at least when I get inside the ropes, (I can) just try and concentrate on the shot at hand."
Asked if he had been tempted to withdraw from an event in which he has missed the cut in each of the last two years, McIlroy added: "No, I didn't think there was any reason to do that. There's no good time to sort of end a relationship I guess.
"I made a commitment to be here. It's the European Tour's flagship event. I'm very proud to be part of the European Tour. The European Tour have been very good to me over the last number of years and I thought it was my duty to come back and play in this event. Once I gave my word that I would, I wasn't going to go back on it.
"My schedule right now is here, Memorial and US Open, Irish Open, Scottish Open, British Open. I don't think that's going to change.
"I think I'm no different than anyone else. Everyone has been through break-ups and it's obviously very, very difficult. But look, I'm here to try and concentrate on this week and answer questions about golf and that's what I'm going to do."
The first question on golf at least provided some light relief, with McIlroy laughing after a tongue-in-cheek question about at "least being at a golf course you love".
"I've enjoyed my times here," he added. "I think it's a beautiful golf course. I've got great memories of the place from coming and watching the World Match Play in the early 2000s as a kid. I've struggled on the course personally since they made the changes.
"I'm trying to go in this week with the mindset of not getting frustrated, just trying to play to my spots and not be frustrated that I might only get to hit driver two or three times a round and feel like my advantage of my length is taken away from me.
"I'm just going to try and accept that you've got to plot your way around this golf course and not be overly aggressive. Hopefully I can put in a performance that's a little better than it has been the last few years."
Former world number one Luke Donald, who was not aware of McIlroy's announcement until informed during his pre-tournament press conference, admitted McIlroy would find it hard to concentrate on golf.
"We all know how hard this game is when you have a clear mind," Donald said. "I can't imagine what's going through his mind now. Obviously that's the first I've heard of it and I'm as surprised as shocked as I'm sure you guys are.
"Any time you have personal issues clouding your mind and you're trying to play golf, it becomes very difficult.
"Sometimes being on the golf course can be a little bit of a break away from that, but most of the time it's very hard to separate those two things. Obviously I wish both of them the best."