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Andy Roddick, Brooklyn Decker defend Rory McIlroy, Caroline Wozniacki

rory-mcilroy-caroline-wozniackiRory McIlroy has been under a lot of criticism as of late because of his abysmal play in 2013, and his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki has been blamed for much of it. McIlroy could just be going through an inexplicable funk, but several PGA legends and analysts have wondered if his relationship with Wozniacki is directly correlated with his struggles.

The most recent comments about McIlroy’s personal life came from nine-time major champion Gary Player, who said that McIlroy needs to find the right woman in order to continue his dominance in the game of golf. After hearing that chatter, former tennis star Andy Roddick and his wife Brooklyn Decker have apparently had enough.

As one of the more prominent athlete-celebrity couples on our extensive list, Roddick and Decker know a thing or two about relationship criticism. I’m sure Roddick heard how Decker negatively affected his play on more than one occasion.

For what it’s worth, Wozniacki has struggled worse than McIlroy since the two started dating. She was ranked No. 1 in the world at the time, but has fallen to 10th and hasn’t won a major since. McIlroy, on the other hand, was No. 3 in the world then and is No. 3 now. His only two major victories came while he was dating Wozniacki.

Everyone from Johnny Miller to Nick Faldo seems to think McIlroy is not responsible enough to know how to handle his personal time. Fortunately, golf is not a team sport. If McIlroy wants to spend more time on his girlfriend and less on golf (not to say he’s even doing that), that’s his prerogative. Talking about it obviously isn’t changing anything.

H/T Sports by Brooks Live

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.

Rory McIlroy fires back at Nick Faldo

rory-mcilroyGolf legend Nick Faldo was recently critical of Rory McIlroy, saying that he thinks the 24-year-old is spending too much time worrying about non-golf activities and not enough time on the course.

“You have a window of opportunity, that’s my only words of wisdom to Rory,” Faldo said on Monday. “You have say a 20-year window as an athlete — concentrate on golf, nothing else. Hopefully you have another 40 years to enjoy it so just concentrate on your golf.”

Faldo also said that golf is a full-time job and that McIlroy needs to focus on being on the course from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. like any other profession. On Wednesday, McIlroy fired back at Faldo.

“He said I should be at the course nine to five,” McIlroy said, via IBN Live. “I actually was on the range at 6.15 (yesterday) and got out of the gym at 6:15, a 12-hour day compared to his eight-hour day.

“Nick should know how hard this game is at times and he’s been in our position before. He should know how much work that we all put into it.”

McIlroy is struggling. There’s no question about that. He finished tied for 25th at the Masters in April, tied for 8th at The Players Championship in May and tied for 41st at the US Open last month. He has met with Nike multiple times to make adjustments to his equipment, and Faldo is not the first person to speculate that his personal life has negatively impacted his golf game.

[Related: Johnny Miller thinks Rory McIlroy is struggling because of his love life]

“I know how these things go, I know he wasn’t trying to get on my case at all,” McIlroy said of Faldo. “He was just offering words of advice in some way. (But) I think he has to remember how hard this game can be at times. I think the game’s like life, you’re going to go through highs and you’re going to go through lows. It’s just about trying to work your way out of the lows.”

Personally, I feel that the “blame Caroline Wozniacki” talk has gone way too far. The second a golfer starts struggling — especially one in his mid-20s — people want to point the finger at a lack of focus. McIlroy won three of the final six tournaments on the PGA Tour down the stretch next season. Let’s at least give him until the end of the season.

Rory McIlroy putts into a bunker at the British Open

McIlroy

Rory-McIlroyRory McIlroy’s struggles on the PGA Tour this season have been well documented, and they continued during the first round of the British Open on Thursday morning. McIlroy shot a 79 in the opening round at Muirfield to finish at 8-over on the day. At one point, he even putted the ball into a bunker.

McIlroy decided to putt from the fringe on the 15th, and he put a bit too much speed behind it. The ball went cruising past the flag and into one of Muirfield’s dreaded bunkers. He ended up with a double-bogey, which was his second of the day on the back nine.

The 23-year-old has a lot of work to do if he wants to make the cut on Friday, as his opening-round stinker has placed him near dead last in the field. It looks like he may want to schedule another meeting with Nike about his clubs.

GIF via SB Nation

Johnny Miller: Rory McIlroy is struggling because he’s in love for first time

rory-mcilroy-caroline-wozniackiRory McIlroy is still looking to find his stroke this season, and the British Open would be a good place to discover it this week. McIlroy’s recent performance has left little hope that he stands a chance at Muirfield. The 23-year-old has admitted he is still struggling to find the right clubs since his switch to Nike, but PGA analyst Johnny Miller thinks he is having other problems.

In addition to leaving his shoulder too open when he’s addressing the ball, Miller believes McIlroy’s ongoing romance with Caroline Wozniacki has had a negative effect on his play.

“I think he’s in love for the first time,” Miller said, via the San Francisco Chronicle (via For the Win). “It’s a wonderful feeling, and it’s distracting.”

Miller then went on to talk about McIlroy’s switch to Nike.

“Then I would say it’s one thing to change your driver or wedge, but you’re asking for huge trouble when you change all your clubs and your golf ball at the same time,” he said. “I did it with Wilson, and I went into an immediate slump for four or five months. …”

This is certainly not the first time we have heard someone blame McIlroy’s struggles on his relationship with Woz. There was recently speculation that he might be playing poorly because the two are going through a break-up, but they spent time together and put those rumors to rest.

Rory may not even know what the problem is, but the longer it persists the more the pressure builds. The important thing to remember is that McIlroy won three of the final six events on the PGA tour last year, starting with the PGA Championship in mid-August. It’s certainly possible that he could turn it on again down the stretch this season. Time will tell.

Caroline Wozniacki, Rory McIlroy spend time together amid breakup report

Rory McIlroy Caroline Wozniacki

Like many other celebrity couples, Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki frequently face breakup rumors. The rumors have been around twice now, and the latest came from unreliable British tabloid The Sun.

Over the weekend, The Sun said McIlroy was growing tired of Wozniacki being so clingy.

“He is trying to find a way out of the relationship. It looks as if it’s almost over,” a source told the paper.

In March, the Independent speculated that the relationship could be going south because both players were struggling and because they hadn’t recently communicated over Twitter. Seriously. That’s what they were basing it on.

We haven’t bought either rumor, and it looks like with good reason. The two are still together and their relationship appears to be doing well.

Wozniacki and McIlroy both lost early in their tournaments. Wozniacki lost in the second round at Wimbledon, and McIlroy failed to make the cut at the Irish Open. McIlroy even said in the past that just because both play poorly at the same time has nothing to do with their relationship.

After crashing out of their events early, Wozniacki and McIlroy retreated to Woz’s home in Monaco for the weekend:

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