Rory McIlroy has spoken openly about his new girlfriend Erica Stoll, who he has been quietly dating for the past seven months. The professional golfer – and current World Number One champion – split from his ex-fiancée tennis star Caroline Wozniacki one year ago and it seems that Rory is gradually moving on.
Making a joint appearance at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Rory's native Northern Ireland, the golfer and his new girlfriend were spotted walking hand-in-hand around the course.
Rory made no attempt to hide his new romance and when asked about his love life, he said: "I am very happy. We haven't really been putting it out there."
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Rory McIlroy said his relationship with Erica Stoll is "going great"
Speaking to The Times magazine, the 26-year-old added: "She is from America, which is why I like to spend time in Palm Beach. The past six or seven months have been really nice. That part of my life is going great. If everything off the golf course is good, it allows you to be better on it as well."
Rory and Erica, a 29-year-old from Florida, have known each other for three years and according to the athlete have always been "good friends". The blonde beauty has a background in golf and works for the Professional Golfers' Association in America.
Last May Rory made the shock announcement that he and Caroline had decided to part ways, after he had a change of heart about their upcoming wedding.
The four-time major champion proposed to Caroline, 24, on New Year's Eve of 2013 but just days after sending out the wedding invite, Rory reportedly rang his fiancée to call off the wedding.
Rory McIlroy called off his engagement to tennis ace Caroline Wozniacki after the couple had sent out their wedding invites
At the time Rory released a statement through his management company, writing: "There is no right way to end a relationship that has been so important to two people. The problem is mine. The wedding invitations issued at the weekend made me realise that I wasn't ready for all that marriage entails.
"I wish Caroline all the happiness she deserves and thank her for the great times we've had. I will not be saying anything more about our relationship in any setting."
About a week later, Danish beauty Caroline spoke at a press conference at the French Open and admitted: "Obviously you're not prepared for something like this and it came as a bit of a shock. The only thing I really have to say is to thank everybody for their support and sweet messages... I just have to move on."