Five months after proposing on New Year’s Eve, Rory McIlroy has called off his upcoming wedding with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki. He released a statement announcing the breakup, and then spoke with reporters before this week’s BMW PGA Championship in Wentworth, England.
"It is quite a difficult time for Caroline and myself, and the statement really said it all this morning," McIlroy said in a press conference. "It was mutual and we both thought it was the best for us, the best for both of us. Time to move on, and I've said all that I need to say."
In his statement, McIlroy, 25, took the blame for calling off the wedding.
"The problem is mine,” McIlroy said. “The wedding invitations issued at the weekend made me realize 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."
McIlroy was tweeting a different tune as he rang in the new year with his wedding proposal in Sydney, Australia, before Wozniacki’s appearance in the Australian Open. “Happy New Year everyone! I have a feeling it's going to be a great year!! My first victory of 2014 #shesaidyes!" he posted. They were expected to be married later this year in New York. As recently as May 18, McIlroy tweeted a photo of the two eating dinner at Nobu Monte Carlo as the couple was spending time in London.
"Look, I'm no different than anyone else," a glum-looking McIlroy said as he sat at the podium before reporters. "Everyone has been through breakups, 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."
McIlroy and Wozniacki started dating in September 2011, the same year McIlroy broke through to win his first major championship at the U.S. Open. Both former world No. 1 players in their respective sports, the couple was often seen at each other’s events, most recently when Wozniacki appeared at the 2014 Masters with her hair dyed bright pink.
In their first full year together, McIlroy’s golf thrived. He claimed the No. 1 spot in the World Ranking with a win in the 2012 Honda Classic. He would notch four victories, two runner-up finishes and win the PGA Championship at Kiawah by a record eight strokes.
McIlroy signed a mega-deal with Nike to kick off 2013, which Cindy Davis, Nike Golf President, called “one of the most important moments in the history” of the company. He was under the spotlight more than ever, and his 2013 was filled with a controversial withdrawal (Honda Classic), a major letdown (missed cut at the British Open), and much scrutiny. He failed to win a PGA Tour event. Speculation about the couple’s separation began to creep up at the end of 2013, but McIlroy shot them down on social media.
At the end of his press conference, McIlroy admitted that it wasn't going to be easy playing in the European Tour’s flagship event after a public breakup.
"I'm not going to lie. It's going to be very difficult," McIlroy said. "But you know, at least when I get inside the ropes, just try and concentrate on the shot at hand. But yeah, it's obviously going to be difficult."