May 14, 2024

Rory McIlroy was back on the course shortly after news of his divorce rocked the golf world.


With the PGA Championship at Valhalla, Kentucky, set to tee off Thursday, the 35-year-old was spotted hitting the range. The Northern Irishman is one of the favourites, along with Scottie Scheffler, to lift the Wannamaker Trophy as evidenced by his form in recent tournaments.


McIlroy won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in late April, alongside Shane Lowry, and parlayed that success into a win at the Wells Fargo Championship on Sunday. He arrives at Valhalla with great confidence after seemingly struggling to find a rhythm throughout the early portion of the year.


“I really got some confidence from New Orleans winning with Shane,” the 35-year-old shared after his win. “And then coming into this week, at a golf course I’m comfortable at, my golf swing feels a lot more comfortable than it has done. Going to a venue [Valhalla] next week where I’ve won, it feels like the stars are aligning a little bit.


“But I have got a lot of golf to play and a lot of great players to try and beat next week. I’m going into the next major of the year feeling really good about myself.”


However, while he remains confident in his chances at the PGA Championship, McIlroy will have to do so with more baggage than he anticipated. On Tuesday, news broke that the Northern Irishman had filed for divorce from his wife, Erica Stoll, with documents having been submitted in Florida on Monday.


Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland celebrates with the trophy alongside his wife Erica and daughter Poppy after winning during the final round of the 2021 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 09, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina

Rory McIlroy was spotted at Valhalla after news broke he filed for divorce from his wife Erica ( Image: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The two first met in 2012 at the Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club in Illinois, where Stoll was working the event, and began dating two years later. At the time, McIlroy was engaged to tennis star Caroline Wozniacki but shared after the breakup that he “wasn’t ready for all that marriage entails.”


“Erica, that week, was always the one that was checking us in and out,” McIlroy told NBC Sports in 2019 about his then-partner. “She was there at transportation, so she was always in the car park over the [by the clubhouse.]


“But yeah, it’s still cool to look around and think about that week, and obviously everything that’s happened since then. It’s pretty cool.”



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In 2015, he proposed to Stoll in Paris and was married in 2017 in Ireland. The two were married for seven years and have one child together, Poppy Kennedy McIlroy, who was born in 2020. It was not clear why McIlroy filed for divorce, though the 35-year-old has requested fans to be respectful of his space.


“Rory’s desire to ensure this difficult time is as respectful and amicable as possible,” said McIlroy’s team in a statement confirming the divorce. “He won’t be making any further comment.” McIlroy is scheduled to speak with the media on Wednesday, ahead of the PGA Championship.


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