Rory McIlroy has appealed for an end to the intrusion into his private and business life after a ‘horrible’ year on and off the golf course.

The former world number one starts his Christmas vacation with a plea for some privacy after endless stories about his relationship with girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki.

The Northern Ireland golfer is also fed up with the attention paid to his legal battle with former manager Conor Ridge.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, the 24-year-old admitted all the attention is starting to get to him.

He said, “It’s been the first year where I have really had to put up with the scrutiny and criticism and I guess you just have to believe in what you are doing and not let it get to you too much.

“I let it get to me a couple of times this year and it’s sort of a tough – not a tough position to be in, that’s not the right word – but it was a challenge for sure.”

Happy to let the critics loose on his golf game, McIlroy is annoyed at the speculation about his private life and his business dealings.

He added: “All the other stuff annoys me. I don’t care what people say about my golf, it’s all the other stuff. When they start digging into your personal life, start digging into that, then that’s where it starts to annoy you.

“Whether it is Caroline, whether it is management companies, it shouldn’t really be as a consequence as to how I play my golf. That gets at me more than anything else.”

McIlroy, a winner in Australia two weeks ago, is finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel after his multi-million dollar switch to Nike.

He added, “Things are a bit more settled, which is a good thing. I’m not going through an equipment change, not going through any of that, which is good. I can actually afford to take a couple of weeks off, which is going to be nice.

“It’s been a long season, a long stretch, so I am excited to put the clubs down and have a few weeks rest and get back at it in the new year.”

Looking back on 2013, he stressed, “It was a year that, performance-wise, wasn’t what I wanted, but I guess I learned a little more about myself and a little more about my swing and about how the golf swing really works.

“What we have done well at the end of the year is how we work with my coach Michael Bannon in the off weeks. He leaves me alone during competitive weeks so I am not really working on things during tournaments, just to leave my mind a little clear.

“This has been my sixth full season as a pro, going into my seventh, so it’s quite a long time. It’s been good and most of the time it has been on an upward curve and I just plateaued a little but this year in terms of performance.

“But I feel like I am working hard and the game is much closer than it was in the middle of the year. That’s the most important thing.”