Rory McIlroy is still a sound man. That's the opinion of his Irish fans who watched him play a grueling pro-am game in teeming rain that could have beaten players with twice his experience.
But the golf ace kept his head down and did his best. In fact the only real sign of stress he betrayed this week was when reporters asked him later why he had not yet proposed to Caroline Wozniacki, his celebrity girlfriend.
Of course the press also wanted to know about his shock split from long-time manager, Chubby Chandler. McIlroy admitted it was the hardest decision he had ever had to make in his life.
"I think the world of Chubby," he told the Daily Mail this week. "(He was) definitely right for me for the first four years of my career. But I haven't won as much as I would have liked and, after talking it through with people like my mum and dad, I feel a fresh approach is the right move to make. That's really all I can say."
Although Chandler believes that Wozniacki might have had something to do with the breakup, McIlroy refused to take the bait and get into a public scrap.
"I don't want to comment on what he said but he knows the reasons why I wanted a change because I told him personally," he said.
"Chubby was fantastic about it. It was the most difficult conversation I have ever had because I had been mulling it over for a while. How do you tell someone who has always been there for you for the past 10 years that you want to change things?"
"Players change managers all the time without comment, don't they?"
Asked if the past 12 months have changed him he was adamant.
"Of course I have changed. It has been one long year of change," he said. "Many 22-year-olds are still finishing university. Winning the US Open changed me. Going to Haiti (as part of his work as an ambassador for UNICEF) changed me. They might not have changed me as a person but they have changed my view of things."
Sports Digest - Rory McIlroy wins the Master in Shanghai
Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki set to cash in as sport’s new golden couple
Rory McIlroy dumps Chubby Chandler as agent -- girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki seen as behind move
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