Wednesday 17 January 2018

Wozniacki to join Rory's Portrush party after shock first-round Wimbledon exit

Rory McIlroy in action during the Irish Open ProAm
at Portrush yesterday
Rory McIlroy in action during the Irish Open ProAm at Portrush yesterday
Caroline Wozniacki shows her disappointment at losing at Wimbledon

Karl MacGinty

RORY McILROY'S tennis star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki will be at Royal Portrush to support his bid for Irish Open glory.

Following her shock first-round defeat at Wimbledon yesterday, the Dane decided to travel to Ireland for what promises to be the most exciting Irish Open in history.

Seventh seed Wozniacki wasted two match points in the second set before losing 5-7 7-6 6-4 to Tamira Paszek of Austria. McIlroy (23) had been planning to go to Wimbledon after Sunday's Irish Open climax but after her early exit, world No 7 Wozniacki decided to fly across the Irish Sea instead.

It's the first time Wozniacki, world No 1 when she first met McIlroy last July, has lost in the opening round at Wimbledon. On several occasions during yesterday's Irish Open Pro-Am, which was played in front of massive crowds, McIlroy consulted his iPhone, presumably keeping abreast of events in London.

Even rainstorms forecast for today's first round are unlikely to dampen the enthusiasm of 23,000-plus fans at the Irish Open, or the players.

Portrush hero Graeme McDowell, who won the 2010 US Open and clinched victory for Europe at the Ryder Cup, put the tournament in context when he said winning the Irish Open in his home town would be "one of the most special moments of my career, right up there with winning in Pebble and the putt at Celtic Manor.

"It would mean a lot in terms of pride and emotion to win in front of my family and friends. There'll be a pretty kick-ass party somewhere in town on Sunday night if it happens. "Yet," he added, "Portrush will be buzzing on Sunday if any Irishman has a chance to win."

Irish Independent

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