LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Cupid is not going to retweet this column. Bride magazine won't ask for the link. Dr. Phil will probably give me a call.
But even though we're only halfway through the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club, I can report one score that is final:
McIlroy 1, Matrimony 0.
I'm not certain what other analysis fits after checking Rory McIlroy's scorecards since he called off his engagement to professional tennis star Caroline Wozniacki in late May.
Call the roll: Dried his tears and won the BMW PGA title in Europe days after the announcement. Backed that up by winning the British Open for his third major title. Followed that with another stirring victory in the Bridgestone Invitational last weekend.
Look at the early leaderboard for the second round of the PGA. After opening with a rousing 66 on Thursday, McIlroy backed it up with a four-under-par 67 in soggy, rainy, muddy, unpleasant conditions on Friday. He started Round Three Saturday at 3 p p.m. paired in the final group with Jason Day, who trails McIlroy by a single stroke.
On a Friday when McIlroy's two playing partners (U.S. Open winner Martin Kaymer, who missed, and Masters champion Bubba Watson, who survived) looked more like club pros flirting with missing the cut, McIlroy displayed all of his fabulous shot-making skills, especially with the eagle he made on No. 18.
Now McIlroy is poised to make it four major titles -- with his first major back-to-back wins -- at the age of 25. Only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have sparkling statements like that on their resumes. Perhaps it's no longer premature to suggest that golf is shifting from Tiger Time to Rory's Rule.
Trying to be polite about the situation, a questioner asked McIlroy if his “major personal event,” affected his focus?
“Well, I think it has happened to me for the better,” McIlroy said. “I've put (in) a little bit more time and refocused me in a way.
“It's the only thing I have. Not the only thing I have – I've got my family and my friends, but I just immersed myself in my game. I've practiced hard and I've done all the right things and I'm reaping the rewards.”
Kaymer said McIlroy was spectacular. Actually he said it was occasionally deflating to have McIlroy as a playing partner. No matter how far Kaymer hit his drives, McIlroy knocked his an extra 20-to-30 yards. “You're always a little farther from the pin, hitting first,” Kaymer said.
Talk like that only illuminates the smile on McIlroy's confident face. McIlroy said he gave away the 2011 Masters green jacket when he lapsed into protection mode. That's not going to happen this weekend.
“It's taken me a couple of years to grow into that where I am comfortable, and you know, my mindset, has stayed the same since that day at Augusta,” he said.
“If I'm two ahead going into the weekend here, I'm going to try to get three ahead, and if I'm three ahead, I'm going to try to get four ahead, and if I'm four ahead, I'm going to try to get five ahead.
“I'm just going to try to keep the pedal down and get as many ahead as possible. That is my mindset whenever I'm leading the golf tournament.”
Let's not forget one more important item: Wozniacki's game has also appeared to benefit. She won the Istanbul Cup three weeks ago. She's hung out with Serena Williams and set a goal of running the New York City Marathon.
Competing at the highest level of an individual sport like tennis or golf is a daunting assignment. The travel. The competition. The expectations. The hassles.
Drop a long-distance relationship into the mix. I believe you can understand what McIlroy is talking about, even if he loses major points if the stories are true that he broke up with Wozniacki during a three-minute telephone calls days after their wedding invitations were placed in the mail. (She initially thought it was a joke. Not cool.)
McIlroy was not asked that question at Valhalla. But he was asked how much more time he invests in his golf game now that he is investing less time in his former fiancé.
“It's hard to really say how much more time,” McIlroy said. “I guess, what else do I have to do?
“I get up in the morning, I go to the golf course, I go to the gym. It's just sort of – it's just my life at the minute, you know. It obviously works pretty well, so I'm going to keep doing it.”