McIlroy, under fire from several quarters for his winless PGA Tour season after a much-hyped equipment change, may make Gary Player happy if the latest reconnaissance from the Irish publication heralding yet another breakup is true. Player, oddly, weighed in for a second time with his opinion that the two-time major champion needed a more supportive mate if he hoped to join him, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus in the pantheon of golf’s superstars.
"If you're a young man like Rory, you can't play with worries," Player, echoing similarly outmoded comments he made earlier this year, said in a recent ESPN interview about what he perceived to be some of McIlroy’s off-course distractions. "You can't have managerial problems, you can't have women problems. You've got to be out there and have a free mind. And that's why Arnold, Jack, and I won something like 55 majors between us. Because we had three wives that were very, very special."
In addition to McIlroy’s love life, Player referred to the golfer’s divorce from Horizon Sports Management, which helped negotiate his mega-bucks gear deal with Nike, and the establishment of his own company, Rory McIlroy Inc.
Player, whose body may belie his 77 years, showed his age when he offered his antediluvian comments about half the population.
"He's got to find himself a wife that'll help him, actually almost dedicate her life to him being a success," said the owner of nine major titles. "And that's hard to find today, because women are extremely independent today. It's a very different time than when we were around."
It’s unclear why Player appears obsessed with blaming McIlroy’s struggles on his relationship with Wozniacki, who, according to the Independent, was "absolutely devastated" by the purported separation. Sources told the paper, which has sparked rumors of a rift between the two for months, that the posting of an embarrassing photo of a sleeping Rory on @CaroWozniacki’s Twitter page last month was the tipping point for the world’s sixth-ranked golfer.
Those reading the Twitter tea leaves point to recent posts from Wozniacki, including this retweet, as clues to the status of her love life: “Life is like Twitter. I just have to post what I feel, retweet the good memories, delete the drama, and follow my dreams.” -- October 7, 2013
They also wonder if McIlroy, who has several Asian tourneys coming up, as well as a reprise of his 2012 match in China with Tiger Woods, will refute earlier dispatches of the demise of Wozzilroy as he did back in March.
“No, no no,” the 24-year-old from Northern Ireland said during a March press conference in which he apologized for his abrupt withdrawal from the Honda Classic about mounting rumors that the power duo's romance was on the rocks. “Just because I have a bad day on the golf course and Caroline [Wozniacki] loses a match in Malaysia [as she did last week to the equivalent of a Monday qualifier] doesn’t mean we’re breaking up.”
McIlroy took to Twitter in August to pooh-pooh similar reports of a schism.
“I'd love to know who this guy source is... Seems to pop up in the papers all the time and is wrong 99.9% of the time!”
— Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) August 25, 2013
As for McIlroy’s game, he still has a chance to salvage his 2013 campaign with wins or strong performances in the two European Tour events he has on tap in Asia, the BMW Masters and WGC-HSBC Champions tourneys.