IN THE ROUGH Rory McIlroy’s split from wife Erica ‘came out of the blue & no one saw it coming’ but papers say marriage was ‘broken’

GOLFER Rory McIlroy's shock divorce from his American wife came "out of the blue" and "no one saw it coming", an insider says.

The 35-year-old - said to be worth £200 million - has filed for divorce from Erica Stoll after submitting documents in Florida on Monday.

Golfer Rory McIlroy and wife Erica Stoll have filed for divorce
Golfer Rory McIlroy and wife Erica Stoll have filed for divorce
The pair first met in 2012 before hitting things off several years later
The pair first met in 2012 before hitting things off several years later
McIlroy was spotted for the first time out on the course this afternoon
McIlroy was spotted for the first time out on the course this afternoonCredit: Getty
He was seen focusing at the Valhalla driving range in Kentucky
He was seen focusing at the Valhalla driving range in KentuckyCredit: Getty

The Northern Irish star did not cite a reason for the divorce – with the shock break-up coming after the couple tied the knot at a star-studded wedding in 2017.

But the three-page divorce petition - lodged with Palm Beach County Court – said the marriage was “irretrievably broken”.

McIlroy's team tonight released a statement that said: "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.

"He will not be making any further comment."

A golf source added: “Their split comes right out of the blue and no one saw it coming.

“The timing is very odd with Rory about to take part in a tournament but perhaps he wanted to get things tied up before it started.

“Ironically, Rory is in some of the best form of his life so whatever has been going on behind the scenes has not affected him at all.“He is on a hot streak so everything in the garden appeared to be rosy. But he will now be the focus of a lot of attention.

“Let’s just hope it doesn’t affect his form in Kentucky and his game in general.

“But hopefully, with the news out there Rory will be able to focus on the tournament.”McIlroy was today spotted out on the Valhalla driving range in Kentucky.

Documents filed in the US showed that four-time major champion McIlroy and Erica signed a pre-nuptial agreement in March 2017 before they wed in April that year.

They also revealed the couple had agreed to “shared parental responsibility” for their daughter Poppy, three.

Golf world No 2 McIlroy and Erica first met in September 2012 at the Ryder Cup where she helped him get to the course after he overslept.

At the time, McIlroy was dating Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki – with the pair getting engaged - before splitting in 2014. His romance with Erica, 36, blossomed the next year.

Erica – who worked for the US PGA when they met – and McIlroy then wed at a lavish ceremony in County Mayo, Ireland in front of guests including Ed Sheeran, One Direction’s Niall Horan and Coldplay singer Chris Martin.

And Erica – and daughter Poppy - have often been by his side as McIlroy starred at tournaments in recent years. Erica cheered him on at the Ryder Cup in Italy last year and also caddied for him at the Masters Par 3 contest in 2023.

The reasons for their divorce have not been disclosed
The reasons for their divorce have not been disclosed
Erica has been a regular at his golf events
Erica has been a regular at his golf eventsCredit: Richard Pelham / The Sun
McIlroy and Erica, who married in 2017, welcomed daughter Poppy in 2020
McIlroy and Erica, who married in 2017, welcomed daughter Poppy in 2020Credit: Getty
Erica and McIlroy enjoyed a low-profile relationship
Erica and McIlroy enjoyed a low-profile relationshipCredit: Getty

Erica was seen at The Players in March when the PGA Tour shared a heartwarming clip of she and Poppy greeting McIlroy on the 18th green.

The golfer was seen scooping his daughter into his arms for a hug with Erica telling him they had been watching his birdie-birdie finish.
Their split comes on the eve of the US PGA Championships in Valhalla, Kentucky, which starts tomorrow with McIlroy one of the favourites.

This afternoon, a rep for the golfing ace confirmed the split to The Sun.

They said: “A divorce has been filed.”

The representative said the couple wanted to remain “respectful and amicable” and to “surround their daughter with love”.

McIlroy has won his last two golf starts – at the Wells Fargo Championship and Zurich Classic.

Rory McIlroy's career achievements

By Ian Tuckey

Rory McIlroy spent more than 100 weeks at World No1 - and has scooped four Majors and won 40 tournaments in all SO FAR.

Only all-time greats Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have matched his feat of winning one of the big four by the age of 25.

And after winning the 2011 US Open, the Northern Ireland ace added the PGA Championship the following year - adding the Open and PGA crowns in 2014.

Here's a rundown on the glittering career of the 35-year-old, five-time Ryder Cup winner, who was also a strong critic of the rival Saudi-backed LIV tour:

  • 2007 - topped the world amateur rankings aged 17.

Turned professional in September.

Became the youngest Affiliate Member in the history of The European Tour to earn a tour card.

  • 2009 - reached the world top 50.
  • 2010 - won his first PGA Tour title via the Quail Hollow Championship.

Made a winning Ryder Cup debut.

Became the youngest player to reach $10m earnings on the PGA Tour.

  • 2011 - Famously blew a four-stroke lead on the final day of the Masters in May.

But won his first major the following month - the US Open.

Named Sports Person of the year by RTE - Ireland's main broadcaster.

  • 2012 - lifted the PGA Championship.

Named PGA Tour player of the year and picked up more Ryder Cup glory.

  • 2013 - signed a huge sponsorship deal with Nike.
  • 2014 - his best year to date, majors wise.

Won the Open at Royal Liverpool.

Then clinched back-to-back PGA crowns, beating Phil Mickelson by one stroke.

Named RTE Sports Person of the year for a second time.

Again helped Europe win the Ryder Cup.

  • 2016 - Ended the season winning the Tour championship, putting him top of the FedEx Cup and landing him the $10m bonus pool.

Suffered Ryder Cup defeat.

  • 2017 - failed to win all year.

But gained top 10 finishes at the Masters, The Open and 3 WGC events.

And with Nike largely withdrawing from the golf market, he landed an £80m endorsement deal with TaylorMade.

  • 2018 - More Ryder Cup joy.
  • 2020 Overtook Brooks Koepka to become World No1
  • 2021 - A Ryder Cup loser.
  • 2022 - runners-up at the Masters and finished third at the Open.
  • 2023 - helped Europe thrash the USA 16.5-11.5 in the Ryder Cup.
  • 2024 - struggled early in the season, finishing just joint-22nd in the Masters.

But then won two tournaments - the Zurich Classic for his 25th PGA title and the Wells Fargo Championship.

And all eyes will now be on him when he tees off in Kentucky, where he starts the 106th championship as second favourite to American Scottie Scheffler.

It was at Ryder Cup event in Medinah, Illinouis in 2012 where McIlroy first met Erica, who was working for US Professional Golfers’ Association as manager of Championship Volunteer Operations.

McIlroy’s alarm failed to go off but Erica came to his aid, and helped arrange a police escort to race him to the course so he did not miss his tee time.

The star went on to help Europe to the famous ‘Miracle of Medinah’ comeback victory.

McIlroy and Erica stayed friends, while the golfer was with ex world tennis No.1 Wozniacki – before their romance blossomed in 2014.

Talking about their relationship the following year, McIlroy said: “I am very happy in my love life.

“We haven’t really been putting it out there. She is from America, which is why I like to spend time in Palm Beach.

Inside Rory McIlroy’s whirlwind love life

By Ciaran Wiseman

Rory McIlroy enjoyed a high-profile romance with former tennis world number one Caroline Wozniacki before their split in 2014.

The following year, the golf ace began dating Erica Stoll, who he had first met on the PGA Tour in 2011.

Erica often interacted with players through her role as the PGA’s manager of championship volunteer operations.

She even prevented McIlroy from missing his tee time at the 2012 Ryder Cup after some confusion over the time zone.

The incident began a firm friendship between the pair, four years before their relationship turned romantic.

McIlroy and Erica were spotted on a string of dates in Rochester, New York, in the early days of their relationship.

Just eight months later, the couple got engaged in Paris and walked down the aisle at Ashford Castle in Ireland in 2017.

The pair then welcomed daughter Poppy into the world three years later.

Throughout their time together, McIlroy and Erica have kept their relationship to themselves, with the golfer keen to protect his family from the cameras during filming of Netflix’s Full Swing documentary series.

However, after seven years of marriage, McIlroy has now filed for divorce from Erica.

The reasons for the divorce have not been disclosed, but the Northern Irishman has submitted documents to a court in Florida.

“The past six or seven months have been really nice. That part of my life is going great.”

And in a later interview, he added: “The thing I love about it is that we were friends before anything romantic happened.”

The couple also kept Erica’s pregnancy with Poppy under wraps until just before she gave birth in September 2020.

Days before the new arrival, McIlroy told reporters at the BMW Championship: “We’re about to be parents very soon, so we’re obviously super excited.

“We’ve been sharing the news with friends and family, obviously, but I didn’t think it was something that I really particularly needed to share.

“But we’re really excited and can’t wait for [our daughter] to get here.”

McIlroy announced the birth of their daughter via Instagram shortly after in September 2020.

He, Erica and Poppy are understood to have lived in a 12,800 square foot £7 million mansion in Jupiter, Florida – a hotbed of golf.

The star reportedly broke off his relationship with Wozniaki through a three-minute phone call after saying he “wasn’t ready for everything that marriage entails”.

McIlroy – who previously dated childhood sweetheart and socialite Holly Sweeney, 33, added at the time: “I wish Caroline all the happiness she deserves and thank her for the great times we’ve had.”Their split came in May 2014, before they were due to wed in November – having already sent out invites.

This afternoon, McIlroy’s rep said he and Erica hoped for privacy for their daughter and added: “Neither will be making any further comment.”

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Here are some of the most high-profile beauties...

  • This former beauty pageant contestant is now an actress and featured in Sharknado 5.
  • The daughter of an ice hockey legend who has been branded the 'world's sexiest caddie'.
  • A Master golfer raced home from his most recent triumph to be by his wife's side as she gave birth to their first child.
  • An athlete who vaulted her way into a modelling career - and her golfer hubby's heart.
  • A keen tennis player and former competitor in the javelin lived with her ex-world No1 husband for two years before getting together.
  • Playing off a handicap of three, this sports reporter could give her fella a run for his money on the greens.
  • This low-key beauty got married to a superstar golfer in front of Stevie Wonder, Chris Martin and Niall Horan.
  • A former gymnast who has been her husband's rock for 14 years - he even pays tribute to her on his golf balls.

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