Monday July 29th, 2013

Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki have been dating since 2011. (Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Add golfing great Gary Player to the list of people who think Caroline Wozniacki is a factor in Rory McIlroy's slump. According to the 77-year-old nine-time major champion, McIlroy needs to "find the right wife" to help fulfill his promise.

Player also said he's disagreed with McIlroy's decision making.

“I love Rory," Player told Great Britain's My Sporting Life. "He’s got such talent you can’t believe it, and I got quite perturbed when I see him win the [2011] U.S. Open and then the next tournament that he plays is one month later, the Open Championship [where McIlroy finished 25th]. You can't do that. What he should have done was taken a week off after winning the U.S. Open to settle down and then play two tournaments in a row and then come into the Open. You’ve just got to prepare properly."

After winning the 2011 U.S. Open, McIlroy took a month off and was spotted watching Wozniacki from the Royal Box at Wimbledon. Speculation of a romance quickly followed when the two were seen dining around London after the tournament. After finishing 64th at the PGA Championship that August, McIlroy flew to Cincinnati to support then-No. 1 Wozniacki at the Western & Southern Open. The pair shared a very public kiss at the New Haven Open a few weeks later.

McIlroy claimed a second major, the PGA Championship, in 2012, the same year he won five tournaments, led both the PGA and European tours in earnings and cemented his place at the top of the world golf rankings. But McIlroy has fallen off this year after changing clubs; he's yet to win a tournament or contend at a major, and the 24-year-old has slipped to No. 3 in the world.

“When you’re in love as a young man, naturally golf seems to take second place for a while," Player said. "That's natural. Love is still the greatest thing that ever happens in our lives. ... Now the thing is for a man like Rory, the talent galore, he’s 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 made all the 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.” On Monday, Player tweeted, "For the record, I am a huge @McIlroyRory fan & supporter. Period. I think @CaroWozniacki is super & good for Rory. I wish them all the best."

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