Friday 30 September 2016

Rory McIlroy set to go public on romance as he stays in contention at Players Championship

Claire McNeilly

Published 09/05/2015 | 14:53

Love is in the air for Erica Stoll and Rory McIlroy
Love is in the air for Erica Stoll and Rory McIlroy

On the course Rory McIlroy is just four shots off the lead at the Players Championship at Sawgrass going into the third round today, and off it his love life seems to be blossoming.

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The world's number one golfer has been romantically linked to American PGA employee Erica Stoll since late last year, though up until now the young couple have managed to keep their blossoming romance very low key - until now.

Earlier this month they were spotted out on a dinner date at 2Vine in downtown Rochester, New York, where Stoll is originally from.

Rory - who celebrated his 26th birthday on May 4 - also recently revealed that 29-year-old blonde beauty Stoll was recovering from a stomach bug.

"She was really sick and was suffering badly from food poisoning," said the Northern Ireland golf sensation, who won the WGC-Cadillac Match Championship last Sunday, the day before his birthday.

"Erica had to be taken from course when I was on the 10th hole during the (WGC-Cadillac Match Championship) final.

"I think it was the same bug that Paul Casey had picked up, so she couldn't travel, but she's much better now."

McIlroy, now the richest sportsman in Ireland, according to the 2015 Sunday Times Rich List, is currently involved in the Players Championship at Sawgrass in Florida.

Stoll was the PGA employee who famously made sure Rory didn't miss his singles match tee time during the 2012 Ryder Cup (he narrowly avoided missing disqualification after mixing up his tee time and was given a police escort to the course).

The duo then enjoyed a two-year friendship before embarking on a closer relationship.

Rumours that things had stepped up a gear began when they rang in 2015 together at a plush New Year's celebration at luxury Ashford Castle in Co Mayo.

McIlroy shared a picture on Instagram that night of a Champagne bottle with two glasses resting on napkins bearing the hotel's logo.

Days earlier the loved-up pair stayed in the penthouse of The Westbury Hotel in Dublin, and earlier that week he was spotted enjoying drinks at Peruke & Periwig, one of the city's trendy hotspots.

McIlroy's romance with Stoll - who is manager of Championship Volunteer Operations at the PGA of America - follows a series of rumoured dalliances with Irish model Nadia Forde, who went on to appear in I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here; receptionist Sasha Gale, and South African model Shashi Naidoo.

It also comes after the extremely public demise of his relationship with Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, to whom he proposed on New Year's Eve 2013.

McIlroy stunned his then fiancée - and made headlines across the world - by calling off their wedding just days after the couple had sent out invitations. In a short phone call that Wozniacki first thought was a joke, he explainedthat he "wasn't ready for all that marriage entails".

All the signs show that McIlroy's new romance with Stoll seems to be on course for success. Let's hope this one doesn't end up in the rough.

Belfast Telegraph

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