|Rory McIlroy and his former girlfriend Holly Sweeney
The native of Co. Down admits that he’s single-minded in his pursuit of greatness, so much so that romance, at least for the time being, is out of the question.
Earlier this year McIlroy parted ways with his childhood sweetheart Holly Sweeney, 20, because he wants to focus on the links. The two had been dating since they were 16; they met at a golf club in Holywood, their hometown.
Though they’re no longer an official couple, McIlroy said last week that he’s still in regular contact with Holly, who is studying for a degree in sports technology at the University of Ulster.
“Holly and I have known each other most of our lives, we speak practically every day, and I never want to lose that,” he told the Daily Mail last week. “At this point in my life I want to concentrate on being the golfer I know I can be, but who knows what will happen four or five years down the line?”
Holly was a fixture at many of McIlroy’s events, both on and off the course, but the time apart has taken its toll as McIlroy travels the world. His two dogs, though, are in good hands back home because Holly still tends to them.
A few years back, when McIlroy was an up and coming star, he spoke about Holly to the Belfast Telegraph, and said they were determined to be as normal as possible.
“Holly is quite shy. This is the first time she has been in the media spotlight and she has handled herself really well, but I think she doesn’t want to turn into a typical girlfriend of a sports person, so she likes to take a back seat,” he said.
“There is obviously a lot of attention now and we don’t want to turn into a typical Posh and Becks-type couple. We just want to lie under the radar.”
McIlroy is definitely all over the radar screens these days, and for all the right reasons. Don’t be surprised if he dons the Masters green jacket on Sunday evening.