Nadia Forde gets apology phone call from Rory McIlroy for new birdie
Another beautiful birdie? Well don't get too comfortable. It's all just par for the course. That was the message from Rory McIlroy's camp as Co. Antrim model Sasha Gale exploded across the tabloids last week as the golfer's latest squeeze.
The petite brunette (23) has been warned by friends of the sports star not to get too attached as McIlroy (25) is enjoying his new-found single life too much to have any notion of settling down.
Close friends of the star say the golfer's circle were left scratching their heads at how photographers were able to pinpoint the exact whereabouts of Rory and Sasha during their date last Tuesday. Carrying a £200 (€253) Armani handbag and dressed in a cream skirt and white blouse, Sasha appeared happy to be in the company of the 25-year-old multi-millionaire sportsman.
They spent more than an hour over a leisurely lunch on Belfast's upmarket Lisburn Rd while Rory had his £144,000 (€152,000) Overfinch Range Rover valeted.
The profile of Ms Gale - who was until last week a little known model - went global on foot of the revelations, doing wonders for her budding career.
Since then, media speculation has been rife that the golfer is playing two women at once on both sides of the border - the Belfast-based brunette and Dublin's very own Nadia Forde. But that unedifying theory is wildly off the mark.
Although in contact on an almost daily basis - Nadia and Rory have not been dating in recent months. Earlier this year, Forde made it clear to Rory that she wants friendship but not romance and even encouraged him to play the field, in light of his traumatic engagement split from Caroline Wozniacki.
"They were getting on great, she thinks he is a really good guy, but then this week it all went a bit pear -shaped," a close friend of the model told the Sunday Independent.
"Nadia feels if they are going to be friends then there has to be respect. When she had to walk through the airport last week with snappers [photographers] shouting at her and asking how she felt about Sasha and whether or not she had anything to say to the girl, she was very upset at being caught off-guard. She would have appreciated a warning, as his mate.
"It was obvious Nadia was going to get roped into the story having been linked to Rory and it would have been nice to get a call from him in advance if he knew what was about to kick off.
"Rory apologised to her and seemed upset that he had caused her needless embarrassment. From what I gather he also said there was nothing going on with this Sasha girl - it was just lunch."
"But Nadia stressed to him that they are just friends now so she has no issue with any girl he dates and said he doesn't need to give her any explanation.
"All he needed to do was let her know what she was waking up to in the papers."
"As far as I know she hasn't replied to any of Rory's latest texts and right now she's wondering if it's worth the drama of being his friend at all.
"She has been very loyal to him, if you notice they have never been pictured together in the papers and she has never spoken about him but right now she's wondering why she would bother inviting all this stress into her life.
"She is being painted as a jilted lover when the funny thing is that she was adamant these past few months that they should just concentrate on being friends and go from there.
"She has her head screwed on, she knows the place he is at in his life and what he needs to do, but she is not going to be made to look foolish either."
Meanwhile, a friend of Rory's told the Sunday Independent that Nadia shouldn't worry about the latest reports: "Rory really likes Nadia. She may over-react to all of this and she shouldn't."
"He's like Paul McCartney at the same age. Girls want to spend time with him. It's not that he's the cynical sailor type with a girl at every port, he is actually hopelessly romantic. He is a great listener, warm, friendly and funny as well as being famous.
It's no wonder every girl wants to be on his arm.
But his friend warned: "Any girl getting ideas of permanence after two or three dates is going to be disappointed."
The Co Down golfer has also been linked to at least one other model, who is based in America.
The star has been enjoying his latest success after winning the famous claret jug at the British Open Championship, his third Major success.