You could say Sunday was a big day for Rory McIlory. He cruised to the Open Championship, collecting the third leg of the career grand slam at the age of 25.
It also marks his second victory this season, as he also captured the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour in May. That win came just days after McIlroy called off his engagement to tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
So it appears as if breaking up was the right thing to do for McIlroy’s career. It may also have been the best thing for Wozniacki’s.
While McIlroy was putting on a clinic in Hoylake, Wozniacki was putting on a clinic in Istanbul. Just hours before McIlroy won, Wozniacki took out Roberta Vinci in the WTA Istanbul Cup. The 22nd victory of her career, Sunday’s win marked Wozniacki’s first of 2014.
— Caroline Wozniacki (@CaroWozniacki) July 20, 2014
McIlroy and Wozniacki were quite the athletic power couple when they first got together three years ago, in the summer of 2011. She was the top-ranked tennis player in the world; he was No. 3 in golf. And Rory was on the rise, as he grabbed his first major championship in June at the U.S. Open.
He would reach No. 1 in March 2012, but by that time she had sank to No. 4. By August, McIlroy had lost and regained the world rankings’ top spot, thanks to his second major victory at the 2012 PGA Championship. Caroline briefly dropped out of tennis’ top 10 that year, but at the end of 2012, she was No. 10 and he was No. 1.
Just months into 2013, however, McIlroy was struggling mightily. By the time he reached the Open Championship in July, the likes of Nick Faldo, Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller were criticizing his game, some blaming his new Nike clubs, some blaming his jet-setting relationship with Wozniacki, some blaming both.
Rumors of Wozilroy splitting began popping up in the fall, but on New Year’s Day 2014, McIlroy popped the question. Five and half months later, though, just days after the couple sent out wedding invitations, McIlroy called the whole thing off. He “wasn’t ready for all that marriage entails.”
And then he won his first event as a newly single man. Meanwhile, Wozniacki’s first tournament as a newly single woman was the second leg of the season’s grand slam, the French Open. As the 13th seed, she was upset in the first round. She made it to the fourth round at Wimbledon as the 16th seed, but again was eliminated by an unseeded player.
The Istanbul Cup is no major, but a win is a win. Wozniacki, ranked No. 15 in the world at the time, was the tournament’s top seed, and she played like it. That bumped her up to 13th in the world rankings.
Wozniacki earned just $1.8 million on the court in 2013, her lowest total since her rookie year in 2008. The most she’s ever made in one season was $4.4 million in 2010 – the year before she met McIlroy.
Now that they’re separated, McIlroy and Wozniacki appear headed back to their athletic peaks.
Related Link: McIlroy & Wozniacki Relationship Timeline
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