Rory McIlroy, championship golfer, now is Rory McIlroy, newlywed husband.
Talk about an unplayable lie.
Rory, Rory, Rory — your idyllic life just went from a perpetual birdie opportunity to a potential triple bogey.
McIlroy and Erica Stoll of Irondequoit, N.Y., got married Saturday at the five-star Ashford Castle near Cong, Ireland, in a large, lavish and celebrity-laden affair.
(Couch Slouch can speak from experience here: The bigger the wedding, the shorter the marriage. These days when I get hitched, we’re talking the drive-through window at City Hall, followed by a brief reception at a nearby bowling alley. Toni balked at this at the time, but now, when she’s had her fill of me, she goes out and rolls three games!)
McIlroy has it all — youth, talent, money. With just two of those three, you can wed any Kardashian.
This union is a result of McIlroy’s second engagement, and, frankly, he does not appear to grasp the difference between being engaged and being married.
Being engaged is a commitment. Being married is a life sentence. You can easily get out of a commitment — heck, that’s exactly what he did with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki — but to get out of a marriage, you have to be committed to losing a lot of time and money.
Curiously, McIlroy does not recall the resultant good fortune of his collapsed relationship with Wozniacki in 2014.
When he broke off that engagement after the wedding invitations were mailed out — incidentally, this is the nuptial equivalent of calling off an office visit to a doctor less than 24 hours before the appointment; Wozniacki should have charged him a cancellation fee — he then went out and won the European PGA Championship the following weekend, then two straight majors.
Just a coincidence? I think not.
Clearly, cold feet led to a hot putter.
He played so well because he felt relaxed and freed from his upcoming till-death-do-us-part ceremony. How could he forget this exultant feeling of liberation?
When you’re single, you can mingle; when you’re married, you are harried.
In McIlroy’s defense, this is the second time this year his closest confidantes have failed him — first they let Rory walk 18 holes with Donald Trump. Now they have let him walk down the aisle.
Also in McIlroy’s defense, if he had researched the careers of Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods — the two best in the game in the past 50 years — he would have gotten conflicting signals on the impact of matrimony on golf.
Nicklaus married his wife, Barbara, in 1960, then, between 1962 and 1986, won all 18 of his major championships. Marital bliss, professional success.
But Woods is a chillingly different story.
Before he was married, he won eight majors in a six-year span.
While married to Elin Nordegren between 2004 and 2010, he won six more majors.
Since the divorce, he has not won any.
McIlroy, who turns 28 next month, already has four major titles. But I see a lot more of Tiger in him than Jack; his eye might wander. And here’s the problem — there is lots of temptation on the golf tour, and there are Perkins Restaurants everywhere.
So, yeah, if I were Erica Stoll, I would be darn worried.
By the way, am I the only one who has a problem with her?
Stoll famously saved McIlroy from missing his tee time on the final day of the 2012 Ryder Cup when she was working for the PGA of America; he ended up winning his crucial match and helped Europe take the Cup. Uh, but she was working for the PGA of America — why do we celebrate the fact that she committed treason in aiding and abetting the enemy?
Anyhow, McIlroy apparently loves her and apparently thinks he’s doing the right thing.
He also thinks he will be refreshed and recharged by taking a couple weeks off after the wedding before heading to the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. But trust me, folks — he’s more likely to miss the cut than win the championship. The honeymoon is over, pal.
Q: Is there any doubt that Serena Williams is America’s greatest athlete? Turns out she won the Australian Open in January when she was nearly two months pregnant! (Lisa Martinez; Seguin, Tex.)
A: Serena has so much will and skill, she could be in labor and still win in straight sets.
Q: Pitcher Madison Bumgarner got injured in a dirt-bike accident — wouldn’t his Giants contract prohibit that type of activity? (Anthony Lane; Spokane, Wash.)
A: All I know is that my ESPN poker contract doesn’t even allow me to walk on a dirt path, much less ride a dirt bike.
Q: Are you going to retire at the top of your game or wander slowly into the sunset like so many pro athletes? (Jim Edmondson; McLean)
A: I already tried wandering slowly into the sunset, but, idiot that I am, I was walking east.
Q: I’m told the last player selected in the NFL draft is known as Mr. Irrelevant. Shouldn’t that title be reserved for the Browns’ director of postseason ticket sales? (Mark Campbell; Shelbyville, Ind.)
A: Pay the man, Shirley.
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