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Wednesday 21 February 2018

Classy Rory McIlroy was winner when love match finally turned sour

Rejection sucks, but silence really is golden when celebrities are given the big heave-ho

Rory McIlroy celebrates his win at Wentworth last weekend
Rory McIlroy celebrates his win at Wentworth last weekend
Caroline Wozniacki waves goodbye after losing in the first round of the French Open
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

'WHEN faced with everything, sometimes the best course of action is to do absolutely nothing.' As Caroline Wozniacki awoke following that fateful phonecall telling her the wedding was all off, she would have been wise to take a deep breath and pause. Her hopes of marrying the man of her dreams had been shattered overnight. Worse still, she had to deal with the ultimate humiliation on a world stage.

Yet somewhere between dropping the receiver and floods of tears, Caroline and Rory's camps decided on two very different courses of action. The result was a master class in dignity in the face of disaster but most importantly – thanks to a string of mortifying manoeuvres by Caroline – a lesson in what not to do when you've been dumped.

Golden rule number one: Radio silence. The two most important words in the English dictionary when your heart has been broken. Jennifer Aniston epitomised it in the most famous public rejection of recent years.

She was said to have recounted to friends how she was forced to drive down the interstate highway past 40ft billboards of her ex-husband with the woman he had ran off with – dressed as bride and groom for a movie campaign. Through the entire publicity round of the film, she stayed resolutely schtum.

Even when pressed by a Vanity Fair interviewer on Pitt's claim that he hadn't slept with Angelina Jolie before he officially called time on their marriage, she cooly replied: "I choose to believe my ex-husband."

Meanwhile, Pitt and Jolie were busy posing for a magazine spread as husband and wife with a complete lack of consideration for her feelings. No prizes for guessing who came out of that with their pride intact.

What that particular love triangle taught us is that it is irrelevant who does the dumping – what matters is how you handle it.

So what on earth has Caroline been thinking?

Within hours of Rory's short statement that he had baulked after seeing his wedding invitations, the tennis star took to twitter to address her fans: "Thanks for all the sweet messages! Happy I support Liverpool right now because I know I'll never walk alone."

The peculiar tweet raised eyebrows, interpreted by some as perhaps a dig at Manchester United fan Rory.

Next move was to strut out on court in the first round of the French Open decked out in the full colours of the Irish flag.

The sight elicited a collective 'Oh Good Jaysus' from Wozzilroy watchers before she was dumped out of the grand slam on the first day.

Probably best for her own sake. The sooner she was prevented from brandishing her true colours the better.

Then this week she changed her profile from a loved-up picture with her ex-fiance to a photo of her dressed as a witch while menacingly stirring a cauldron. Now maybe we should all give her the benefit of the doubt and say that it's possible she is excitedly preparing for Halloween – a full five months in advance.

But could you really blame fans for making a connection between the photo of her brewing up a spell and the events of the past two weeks?

Double, double, toil and trouble, eh?

Golden rule number two: however subtle you think you are acting in a show of strength to your heartbreaker – every choreographed step is magnified to the power of 10 to those on the outside. Especially on social media.

What Caroline is demonstrating to us all is a very painful lesson in how heartache can blur your perception of that. The same goes for the flurry of updates she has posted on her twitter account.

Golden rule number three: in the face of such massive rejection, shouting about how much you're enjoying life isn't believable in the short-term.

"With my gang having a blast," she tweeted three days after her wedding was cancelled. Three days. Really?

Meanwhile, Rory has taken a different tact altogether. The shutters have come down, the constant thread of updates on his social media site has run cold and we haven't heard sight nor sound out of him on anything bar what we originally fell in love with him for: golf.

He has handed over his laptops and mobile phones, cut out the white noise and for the first time in years he appears in complete control of his image. Stories of cold-heartedness and 90-second phone calls (which his friends deny) count for nothing in the face of this. It's his actions post break-up – or lack thereof – that are speaking louder than any of it.

It's interesting to note how Rory had his first win since 2012 with a remarkable victory in the BMW PGA championship, while Caroline crashed out of her tournament. Logic versus emotion steering each on a different course.

We've all been there – and rejection sucks. And we can all empathise with how this personal heartbreak will be far greater than any pain she'll ever experience on the court. But it's now more than ever Caroline should have her game face on. And she would be wise to remember: if you want to save face, keep the lower half shut.

Sunday Independent

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