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Rory McIlroy calls off divorce from wife Erica just days before US Open

Erica Stoll and Rory McIlroy – Rory McIlroy calls off divorce from wife Erica before US Open as couple resolve differences
Erica Stoll and Rory McIlroy, pictured here at the Ryder Cup in 2023, were married in 2017 - Getty Images/Brendan Moran

Rory McIlroy goes into the US Open in buoyant mood after announcing that he and his wife Erica have called off their divorce.

The sport was stunned when it was revealed on the Monday of last month’s US PGA Championship that the pair were going their separate ways after seven years of marriage. The couple have a three-year-old daughter.

But two days before the season’s third major begins, a lawyer representing McIlroy filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss a divorce petition that was filed in Florida last month citing that the marriage was “irretrievably broken”. The case has now been closed, according to court records.

“Over the past weeks, Erica and I have realised that our best future was as a family together,” McIlroy later told the Guardian. “Thankfully, we have resolved our differences and look forward to a new beginning.”

Inevitably, the McIlroy split went across the world, with all manners of unsubstainatiated stories appearing on gossip websites and social media. “There have been rumours about my personal life recently, which is unfortunate,” he said. “Responding to each rumour is a fool’s game.”

Rory McIlroy (L) Erica (R) – Rory McIlroy calls off divorce from wife Erica in shocking U-turn just days before US Open
McIlroy and Erica have one child together, Poppy Kennedy McIlroy, who was born in 2020 - Getty Images/Jared C. Tilton

McIlroy certainly seemed in good spirits at his pre-tournament press conference earlier in the day. He arrived in the interview tent here declaring that he still believes he is within touching distance of becoming the best European male golfer of the modern age.

But if the Northern Irishman fails and the majorless run continues, he insists he will not feel he fell short. McIlroy has only this US Open and next month’s Open to avoid going the full decade without adding to his collection of Big Four titles and he has acknowledged that “the clock is ticking”.

McIlroy eyes European record

Yet despite the burden he claims to be packed with self-belief about finally ending the barren streak here at the 124th US Open and so emulating Seve Ballesteros’s haul of five majors and closing to within one off Sir Nick Faldo’s record.

“I still feel like being the most successful European in the game is within my reach -  I’ve got Seve and Faldo to pass in terms of major wins,” he said when arriving at the No 2 course on Tuesday. “But regardless, I’m really proud of my body of work over the past 15 years and everything that I ‘ve achieved, whether it be season-long titles or individual tournaments or majors.

“Obviously getting my hands on a fifth major has taken quite a while, but I’m more confident than ever that I’m right there, that I’m as close as I’ve ever been.”

Of course, his detractors will roll their eyes at this statement. With every passing opportunity there is inevitably a growing conviction that it might well be a case for the 35-year-old of “four and no more”. If 2024 comes and goes and then 2025 as well, he would have to set a new mark in the men’s game for the gaps between majors.

Tiger Woods’s Masters comeback in 2019 was 11 years after his previous glory – at the 2008 US Open – and the odds are clearly lengthening for McIlroy. Even Artificial Intelligence now doubts him. A Las Vegas betting company put his stats through the AI simulator which deduced that his processional at Congressional 13 years is it for McIlroy as far as America’s national championship is concerned.

However, McIlroy, this wonderfully natural talent, will not be vexed what some computer says and is also refusing to weigh himself down with a lifetime goal. “I want to win as many golf tournaments as I can and win as many majors as I can,” he said. “But the thing about picking a number [you want to get to] is that you’re setting yourself up for failure or disappointment.

“Tiger wanted to surpass Jack [Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors]. Looks like he mightn’t get there, but are we going to call Tiger’s career a failure? Absolutely not. He’s arguably played the best golf anyone’s ever seen.

“[But] there’s always going to be that tinge of what could have been. I don’t want to do that to myself. I still have a good bit of time, hopefully for the next 10 years. But whatever those numbers are, whatever the totals add up to, I’ll accept it and feel I’ve done pretty well for a little boy from Northern Ireland who dreamed of playing golf for a living one day.”