Rory: I was more nervous proposing to Caroline than putting to win Majors
RORY McIlroy holes million dollar putts with ease . . . but the golf superstar admits his pulse was racing as he sank to one knee and popped the question to Caroline Wozniacki.
"I was sweating a lot," said McIlroy, "a lot!"
Speaking for the first time yesterday about his New Year's Eve engagement to the Danish tennis ace, McIlroy went on: "I'd an idea she'd say 'yes' but you never really know until it actually happens. It was a great way to end 2013 and start 2014," added the Holywood, Co Down, star. "We were out on a boat in Sydney Harbour for New Year's Eve, just in front of the Opera House and the fireworks were going off.
"Yeah, I guess there was a little bit of romance involved and, yeah, she was surprised. I had an idea it was something she wanted and hoped she'd say 'yes' and she did," explained McIlroy.
The engagement ring he produced at that moment was as spectacular as the setting.
McIlroy chose an eight-carat diamond to reflect Wozniacki's favourite number. "It's also the Chinese lucky number," she revealed.
Wozniacki (23) gave tennis fans a glimpse of the sparkler after beating Lourdes Dominguez Lino early yesterday in the first round of the Australian Open.
After racing to a 6-0, 6-2 win, she sat on her chair, pulled the ring from her tennis bag and slipped it on to her finger.
When asked by an on-court interviewer to hold it up for the crowd and recount the proposal, she smiled, saying it was "very traditional. He asked my parents. He went down on one knee".
McIlroy, in Abu Dhabi for this week's HSBC Championship, explained: "I'd been thinking about it for a while and asked Caroline's parents in the middle of December, so they knew for a couple of weeks beforehand."
McIlroy and Wozniacki, one of the top power couples in sport, first met in the summer of 2011, a month after the Ulsterman's record-shattering success in the US Open at Congressional.
Wozniacki said being engaged will bring "calmness" to their life. "We know what we want and it gives us even more time to focus on our careers."
McIlroy agreed. "If anything it can only help to have that stability -- knowing that everything in my life in that regard is set.
"It's a big step in anyone's life," he added. "If you get engaged you plan on spending the rest of your life with that person so it's a big decision but I feel like she'd definitely the right girl for me!"