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McIlroy files for divorce ahead of Valhalla arrival

Updated: 2024-05-16 09:19
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Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland on the driving range during a practice round for the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, on Tuesday. REUTERS

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — In a stunning revelation ahead of the PGA Championship, Rory McIlroy has filed for divorce after seven years of marriage, according to court records in Palm Beach County, Florida.

McIlroy and his wife Erica Stoll had a storybook romance, meeting during the Ryder Cup in 2012, dating two years later and getting married in 2017. They have one daughter, Poppy, born in September 2020.

TMZ was the first outlet to report on the filing, which was made on Monday.

The petition for divorce described the marriage as "irretrievably broken", and asked that a prenuptial agreement signed about a month before their wedding in 2017 be validated and enforced. The prenuptial agreement was sealed.

McIlroy's attorney was listed as Thomas Sasser, the same attorney who represented Tiger Woods when his wife divorced him in 2010.

"Rory McIlroy's communications team confirmed today that a divorce has been filed. They stressed Rory's desire to ensure this difficult time is as respectful and amicable as possible," said a statement from his manager, Sean O'Flaherty.

He said there would be no further comment.

McIlroy arrived at Valhalla on Tuesday. He has gone 10 years since winning a major, the last one at Valhalla in 2014 for the PGA Championship.

McIlroy and Stoll met under unusual circumstances. She worked for the PGA of America in 2012 during the Ryder Cup at Medinah in the Chicago suburbs, where McIlroy nearly missed his Sunday singles match because he said he forgot he was in the Central time zone.

Stoll arranged for a police escort, and McIlroy barely arrived in time. He won his match over Keegan Bradley as Europe rallied to win.

McIlroy was dating tennis star Caroline Wozniacki at the time. They were engaged just over a year later, but then McIlroy abruptly broke it off over the phone.

He and Stoll began dating later that year. They were engaged in 2015.

McIlroy filed for the divorce a day after he won the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, North Carolina, his second straight PGA Tour win and the 26th of his career. Asked if he planned to go straight to Valhalla on Sunday night, McIlroy said, "I'll probably go home and just sort of reset, then head up to Louisville tomorrow night or Tuesday morning."

The divorce filing comes amid the chaos created by the launch of the Saudi-funded LIV Golf competition. McIlroy had been a harsh critic of LIV, before recently changing his views and pushing for some form of reunification.

He resigned from the PGA Tour board last November, then was involved in a plan to rejoin the board by replacing Webb Simpson. That move was met by resistance from other player directors. Instead, McIlroy was appointed to a committee that is negotiating with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia over potentially becoming a minority investor in the LIV tournament.

Agencies via Xinhua

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