Rory McIlroy has revealed his nights of fear as security guards kept stalkers away from his Holywood home near Belfast.
Speaking in Atlanta, ahead of the final Major of the season, McIlroy outlined some of the reasons why he is quitting Northern Ireland for the US Tour next year.
The US Open champion, one of the favorites for the USPGA which begins on Thursday, spoke openly about the problems that arrived on his doorstep after his Congressional win.
McIlroy has admitted he is keen to escape from his $3million luxury home near Belfast to a new life in Florida after a number of scary incidents.
“Life is tough now and definitely a lot tougher than it was three months ago,” confirmed McIlroy.
“There have been people driving up the driveway at home, which isn’t very nice, but as I said it is something I am just going to have to deal with.
“It definitely has a little bit to do with my decision to base myself in America next year.
“I have had security guards at my house every night since I won the US Open, patrolling around the area. It is something that I just had to put in place.
“It’s tough but it is just the world we live in unfortunately. If you’re in the position we’re in, you’re so public.”
His blossoming relationship with world tennis number one Caroline Wozniacki has only heightened the public interest in the 22-year-old McIlroy.
Just last week he was hounded for autographs when he went for dinner at a TGI Friday’s in Akron during the WGC Bridgestone Invitational event but he knows the fame is part and parcel of his new status in world sport.
“Life has changed a lot but I don’t think about it. There are moments when you think, ‘what is happening here, what is going on?’ But this is what I always wanted to do,” added McIlroy.
“When you grow up and dream of being a professional golfer and dream of winning majors, all you think about is the golf and playing in front of great crowds and on unbelievable golf courses and winning trophies.
“You never think about the other side of it and that is the side that takes a bit of getting used to. It is also something that you don’t expect.
“It doesn’t affect me when I’m playing golf. The five hours I’m on the course is my own time, it’s a bit of tranquility.
“Sometimes it might be nice to be an ordinary Joe. When you are in restaurants and stuff like that when you’re eating dinner and people recognize you and want photographs and autographs and stuff like that, but it is fine, it’s not a big deal. It’s when they stop asking you. That’s when you start to worry.”
West Palm Beach in Florida looks like the preferred new address for McIlroy who will leave his believed dogs Gus and Theo with his mum and dad.
“I practice quite a lot at the Bear’s Club in WPB when I’m over here so it would be nice to have that facility to practice at and it would be nice just to have somewhere to put all your stuff when you’re over here for three of four months,” said McIlroy.
“I’m not looking at anything aside from an apartment or something like that, nothing big.
“The dogs are at home yes. But they’re fine. Mum and dad are great with them and different people take them all the time so it’s no problem.
“We try not to put them in kennels but maybe once or twice a year we might have to. It’s just the two of them, so it is nice for them to spend some time with other dogs in kennels.”