Rory McIlroy has revealed he’s shed the fast cars in a bid to settle down and live up to his new reputation as a role model for kids all across the world.
The Ulster golfer made the admission in Hong Kong ahead of his latest attempt to move closer to the European Order of Merit title ahead of the season’s finale in Dubai.
Now happily involved in a relationship with tennis superstar Caroline Wozniacki, McIlroy revealed the softer side to his image.
“I’ve realized that this year more than any other year I am becoming more of a role model to children and I am striving to get better at embracing that responsibility,” said McIlroy just 24 hours after playing in a fundraiser for earthquake victims in Japan on Monday.
“It is a role that is quite important to me. I want to try and set a good example because I feel as though I had a couple of pretty good role models growing up.
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“I understand what impact I can have on young children and what they think about me and the game of golf. But it’s very nice for kids to come up to me and say, ‘You’re my role model’ and that ‘You’re my favorite golfer’ and that’s great.
“In traveling to places like Haiti, as I did earlier this year, and then to Japan for the Earthquake and tsunami appeal, it puts everything into perspective.
“I am very fortunate that a lot of people know me all over the world, and to have this status is an honor, a privilege and something I respect.
“Sometimes I might think that it would be nice to disappear to some place for a few weeks where no one knows me but that’s my style.
“It’s funny because sometimes I will sit back and feel a bit guilty because I don’t feel I have worked that hard for what I now possess in life. But my feet are planted firmly on the ground and I’m not at the level where I am flying all over the world in a private jet.
“I’ve sold the few cars I owned. I have invested in a few properties but nothing too outrageous and I’ve invested money in my golf game by building my own practice facility back home. So what I have invested in is my career.
“Also I owe my mum and dad so much for what they gave up for me when I was traveling all over the world to play before I had reached 18.”
McIlroy has also revealed how new girlfriend Wozniacki has taken to golf like duck to water -- worryingly so for the world’s number two ranked golfer!
US Open champion McIlroy organized golf lessons for the world’s top female tennis star during a recent holiday in Dubai.
And he readily admits that Wozniacki shows more potential at golf than he does at tennis.
“I took her for a lesson with a good friend of mine who is one of the pros at the Els Club in Dubai,” McIlroy told the Irish Examiner.
“I would be hopeless at teaching someone to play golf and it’s hard to explain because golf is just so natural for me.
“At the end of the lesson she was hitting 7 irons about 140 yards. Being a tennis player, her upper body is pretty strong but she’s struggling a bit because she is always hanging back on her right side, as they do in tennis.
“When she can learn to shift her weight to the left side, she’s going to be so much better. So for the time being she has more potential at golf than I do at tennis.
“The thing is that when I play tennis the competitive side in me comes to the fore and I want to play well every time but it just doesn’t happen. I would get more frustrated because I want to be able to grasp tennis straight away.
“Improving my tennis game is not the reason we spend time together. I will let her focus on the tennis and I will stick with golf.”
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