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Rory McIlroy plays dumb in response to Gary Player (Video)

Rory McIlroy played dumb when asked on Wednesday about Gary Player’s publicized comments about his relationship with Caroline Wozniacki.

McIlroy met with the media at Firestone Country Club in Akron and said he hadn’t heard about Player’s comments. In a recent radio interview, Player didn’t specifically say Wozniacki was a bad girlfriend, but he implied that McIlroy might not be with the right woman.

Player later tried to clear up his comments with the following tweet:

Even though Player’s comments made headlines this week, McIlroy claimed he hadn’t heard about them.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” McIlroy said when asked about the comments.

Gary Player Rory McIlroyMcIlroy then did his best to avoid a controversy.

“I have the utmost respect for Gary Player. He is an incredible man. Obviously the success he’s had on the golf course, but just the way he’s lived his life and how healthy he is. Obviously he’s an inspiration for everyone. I don’t know what he said. This is the first time I’ve heard it. I don’t really know, all I know is I’ve got a lot of respect for the man, and he’s someone that I definitely look up to.”

Player was not the first high-profile member of the golf community to question McIlroy’s love life. Golf analyst and former major winner Johnny Miller did too. Additionally, Nick Faldo recently criticized McIlroy for not spending enough time on his golf.

Though many are blaming McIlroy’s struggles this year on his love life, I don’t think that’s the reason for his problems. McIlroy is only 24 and just signed a mega deal with Nike. He changed his all his clubs (and still hasn’t figured them out) and now has a new set of expectations to live up to. I think the Nike deal put a ton of pressure on him and took him out of his comfort zone. If anything, I’m guessing Wozniacki has been good for McIlroy’s personal life.

Gary Player: Rory McIlroy needs to find the right wife

Gary-Player-Rory-McIlroyWe have discussed Rory McIlroy’s struggles several times over the past few months, and the 24-year-old doesn’t appear to be getting any better. Everyone has their own take on what has gone wrong with the former world No. 1. The theories range from issues with his equipment to a lack of focus because of his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki. In reality, Rory probably doesn’t even know what’s wrong.

Nine-time major champion Gary Player expects McIlroy to return to the top after he sorts out his current issues. However, Player questioned the long break McIlroy took after winning the US Open last year.

“I love Rory McIlroy, he’s got talent like you can’t believe, but I was quite perturbed when I saw him win the U.S. Open (last year) and then the next tournament he played was one month later,” Player told Britain’s Talksport radio, via Reuters. “You can’t do that. What he should have done was take a week off after winning the U.S. Open to settle down and then play two tournaments.

“You’ve got to prepare properly. He has a few problems at this stage of his life but everyone has problems.”

Nick Faldo recently said that McIlroy needs to spend more time on the course and not worry about distractions in his personal life, because the window for a golf career is so small. Player expressed a similar sentiment, albeit in a much kinder manner.

“When you’re in love as a young man, naturally golf seems to take second place for a while,” the 77-year-old legend explained. “It’s natural – love is still the greatest thing that ever happens in our lives.

“But the thing is for a man like Rory with talent galore, he has got to make sure he has a woman like I’ve got, who has been married (to me) for 56 years, that has only encouraged me to do well and has made sacrifices. He’s got to be intelligent and find the right wife. If he finds the right wife, if he practices and if he’s dedicated, he could be the man.”

Wozniacki is a professional tennis player, so I’m sure she understands that McIlroy needs to focus on his career in order to return to the top. As I said before, I think the theory that McIlroy is distracted by love is way overblown. Hopefully he can prove me right down the stretch.