RORY McIlroy declined to comment on reports that he broke off his engagement to tennis player Caroline Wozniacki in a three-minute telephone call that she throught at first was a joke.
“I’m here to talk about my golf,” replied the newly-crowned BMW PGA champion when asked about the claim during a press conference ahead of his appearance in this week’s Memorial event at Muirfield Village in Ohio.
McIlroy is making his first appearance in America since the split and was only asked golf questions for the first eight-and-a-half minutes of a grilling that lasted close to 18 minutes.
In a follow-up question about taking cold feet, he was asked if he’d made a mistake in making the announcement public on the eve of the European Tour’s flagship event at Wentworth.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” he replied to that. “It was a very public relationship and, instead of letting it linger and rumours starting, I thought it was best to have it out there as soon as possible.”
On golf matters, the two-times major winner said he was looking forward to trying to build on his Wentworth win, having come from seven shots behind at the start of the final round to record his first success of the season.
“I think it has given me a lot of confidence mentally. It was the first time I’d had a chance to win since I let the Honda Classic slip away and I was able to close it off. This is one of the best events we have on Tour and it’s played on a great golf course. Coming off the back of a win. I feel my game is in really good shape.”
McIlroy will pay his first visit to Pinehurst ahead of next month’s US Open straight after this event. “I’m going up on Sunday night and will spend Monday and Tuesday there to see what it is like,” said the 2011 winner. “From what I hear, the fairways are going to be a little more generous than they usually are for a US Open.”
Meanwhile, tournament host Jack Nicklaus spoke to Tiger Woods on the telephone yesterday morning but decided against asking the world No 1 when he might be returning to action after his back surgery.
“I’ll let him answer those questions,” said Nicklaus, who did reveal that Woods’ rehab is going well. “He’s looking forward to getting back into the game,” Nicklaus added. “He misses it. I just pass that on.”
Nicklaus also admitted that Woods’ health could be his biggest stumbling block as he continues his pursuit of Nicklaus’ 18 major championships.
“If he’s healthy, I think Tiger’s got 10-plus years to play top quality tournament golf,” Nicklaus said. “And certainly, and I’ve said many times, he’s got a little over 40 tournaments to play the major championships, he’s only got to win five to pass my record. As good a player as he is, I don’t think that should be a big deal.”