Golfer Rory McIlroy says that once the invitations were sent he realized he wasn't ready to marry longtime girlfriend, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, despite being engaged since New Year's Eve. Then he had to face the music with the media and did so earlier today.
McIlroy's camp issued a statement today and then the golfer met media for what observers called a very uncomfortable Q&A session, where he tried to explain his thinking. McIlroy and Wozniacki had been acting as if all systems were go for their 2014 wedding.
Wozniacki, 23 and McIlroy, 25, ranked #10 on the PGA tour have been together for three years, managing to keep up with their relationship despite their respective travel schedules, tournaments and sponsor commitments. While there had been rumors of the couple being shaky, the public announcement of their engagement and the wedding plans proceeding apace seemed to indicate that whatever had been in the past was no longer at issue.
"The problem is mine,” McIlroy said in the statement issued by his management team. “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,” he added. “I wish Caroline all the happiness she deserves and thank her for the great times we have had. I will not be saying anything more about our relationship in any setting.”
Did you hear that? That's the sound of a man who is not only calling off a wedding, but ending the relationship. No one has to guess how Caroline Wozniacki is feeling today Think she was ignoring the signs?
There will be those that say so, but only a couple of weeks ago, Rory McIlroy expressed his pleasure about meeting up with Caroline in London after he competed in The Players Tournament here in the U.S. The tennis star, currently ranked #14 in the world had flown there from Rome where she was to compete in a tournament.
Count Hall of Fame tennis player and TV tennis analyst Chris Evert as one of those who had doubts about the relationship, using her unique experience with the same situation. Evert and Jimmy Connors, both on top of their respective sides of the tennis world, were engaged to be married in 1974. The ceremony was called off five weeks prior to the wedding date. Evert says it's the nature of the business when you are one of the best at your profession and want to maintain that status.
"You're married to your career. Not only the physical, you're using your emotions, you're using every mental capacity you have and you're putting everything into it. That's what it takes to be the best. I was in awe it worked as long as it did (McIlroy and Wozniacki). I was like, 'I can't believe it, they must be such a special, just different kind of people', but I understand 100 percent."
Currently in England for the BMW Players Championship that begins tomorrow, Rory McIlroy hung his head and pleaded his case for being just an ordinary bloke who had made a mistake.
"Look, I'm no different than anyone else," the Northern Irishman said. "Everyone has been through breakups, and it's obviously very, very difficult."
There will be the usual hand wringing and those that try to tell Caroline she's better off that he didn't go through with the marriage only to have it crater shortly thereafter....or even worse, if McIlroy left her at the altar. At the moment, Wozniacki doesn't thinks she's better off than she was prior to her being told the bad news.
What will be interesting to observe for fans of both these great young athletes is to see whose career flourishes and whose tanks. Stay tuned.