Saturday 20 July 2019

I'll tell fans about my swing, says Rory – but not about my sex life

* In an exclusive interview, Rory says he is enjoying solitude and relishing time alone
* Says he wants to concentrate solely on his golf
* His clean start will mean self-imposed exile from Twitter and Facebook
* Fans will be kept informed on his golf swing - but not private life
* 'I don't need every aspect of my life to be online,' he says * 'I'm having a lot more time on my own right now - a lot more time to think'

Rory McIlroy with Caroline Wozniacki
Rory McIlroy with Caroline Wozniacki
Holly and Rory dated for several years before splitting in 2011
Rory McIlroy. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty
Caroline Wozniacki. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty
Holly Sweeney. Photo: Jonathan Porter/Presseye

Dermot Gilleece

From the age of 16 Rory McIlroy has had a steady girlfriend. Now after nine years as the "significant other" in someone else's life, he is determined to have some "me" time.

He is enjoying solitude, relishing just thinking about himself and golf.

Talk of settling down, starting a family and exploring new business opportunities is for the years ahead. He wants to concentrate purely on his sport. And a clean start will mean a self-imposed exile from social media like Twitter and Facebook.

Fans will be kept informed about his golf swing but not his personal life.

During his long-term relationship with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki the couple enjoyed sharing their love life with the world. The innocence of two bright, supremely talented, sports stars clearly loving their life together charmed the world.

They actively participated in their evolution into a golden couple. Tens of thousands enjoyed following their lives together on social media but that brought its own pressures, especially, as is often the way with youthful relationships, when they found they wanted different things.

After their relationship ended he even threw away his mobile phone – a potent symbol of a new start for any young man.

For now he wants to be at the centre of his own universe.

In an exclusive interview in today's Sunday Independent, Rory gives a frank and thoughtful assessment of where he is now – 25 years old and still coming to terms with being a public figure.

"I'm finding myself. That's probably how I would describe it. I'm having a lot more time on my own right now; a lot more time to think. With Holly [Sweeney] and Caroline [his successive girlfriends] it's sort of the first time in nine years I haven't been in a relationship; that I've actually been on my own. So, I've got a lot more free time which has meant a lot more headspace. I'm sort of rediscovering who I am, on my own. It's strange, being in a situation I haven't known for nine years.

He agrees it's been both enriching and revealing.

"I don't want to seem selfish but I'm giving more attention to my own thoughts, my own needs.

"As a person, my natural instinct is to make sure that people are OK. I like to take care of people. But I'm finding that concentrating more on myself has been a good thing. I suppose I could sum it up by saying that it has been a great time for exploring myself.

"There's this great quote 'Know Thyself'. As a competitor in golf I believe I know who I am. I'm never going to have the intensity of Nick Faldo, or Tiger. And as to where I am and what I want to be, the answer is that everything is centred around golf for me right now.

"I want to be the best at what I do. And I've got a great support system around me that lets me go and do that. That's at the minute. There might be other things down the line, like family or business ideas, whatever. But right now it's purely golf."

For now he wants personal privacy insofar as that is possible.He will eschew social media for a while.

"Absolutely. It's something I've learned. I don't need every aspect of my life to be online, or out there."

It was a decision that came to him after some soul searching. "I've simply begun to take note of how other people handle their lives. People like Phil Mickelson, for instance. He's so personable. So likeable. So fair-minded. And with a great family life. I like the sort of image he projects. Who wouldn't?

"Tiger's a different character and a lot different to me in many ways. OK, he's a little higher than I am, but in terms of his public image . . . And I have no intention of cutting myself off.

"I love people knowing about me and my game, things they're entitled to know about me as a public figure. But not personal stuff."

Sunday Independent

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