Rory McIlroy might be burning opportunities to win major championships in pursuing his relationship with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
Good for him.
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be dying."
Robert Herrick's "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time" begins with a direct reminder (a warning, really) that everything vibrant and new today is tomorrow's decay and loss.
It must be serious. The average lifespan of most relationships between people in their early 20s can be measured with an egg timer.
"The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun, the higher he's a-getting; The sooner will his race be run, and nearer he's to setting."
McIlroy is out of form lately. Per The Daily Mail, McIlroy's season thus far has been plagued by new clubs (he has a new contract with Nike), bad swings, bad decision-making and a troublesome wisdom tooth.
And as ever, the media always looks for the culprit when a prodigious talent like McIlroy loses the plot.
Almost from the time their relationship went public, McIlroy has had to address questions as to whether any slump he encounters is attributable to his relationship with the tennis player.
Right, because golf is so easy. It must be her fault when the ball will not cooperate.
"That age is best which is the first, when youth and blood are warmer; But being spent, the worse, and worst times still succeed the former."
Despite it all, McIlroy's relationship with Wozniacki continues unabated. This week at Augusta, McIlroy enlisted Wozniacki as his caddie for the Par-3 Tournament.
Unsurprisingly, it drew attention. Not all of it favorable.
Here's the prime example, a tweet from ESPN Sports Business Reporter & Business Correspondent Darren Rovell:
Darren Rovell @darrenrovell
Caroline Wozniacki caddied for Rory today. Know they’re dating, but this is too much http://t.co/F6Iidoi12m (via @theslicetweets)4/10/2013, 11:35:30 PM
As a threshold issue, Darren Rovell of all people might think twice about chiding anyone for public displays of affection. This is a married man who, in jest or not, once proposed to Kate Upton on air (with predictable results, per Deadspin.com) while his wife was pregnant with their child.
Casting clowns like Rovell aside, it is none of anyone's business who McIlroy chooses to caddy for him in the Par-3 Contest at the Masters. Phil Mickelson has had his kids do the job for him. Bubba Watson has had his wife do the job for him. It is a fun day in an otherwise serious week.
But those men have won the Masters, so seemingly they get a pass.
"Then be not coy, but use your time, and while ye may, go marry; For having lost but once your prime, you may forever tarry."
Once upon a time there was a golfer so singularly dedicated to his game that, for a time, everyone else was playing for second. He won 14 major championships by the age of 33. He was golf.
Beyond that, despite his status as a global golf icon and an omnipresent Nike shill, he married a Swedish model and had two children. A boy and a girl. Perfect.
Except, you know now, it wasn't.
The truth was that when Tiger Woods was on top, all he ever really saw were airports, courtesy limousines, 5-star hotels and golf courses.
And there were never any stories about Woods skipping tournaments to spend time with girlfriends, because he was never, ever, ever going to do that.
Is McIlroy going to marry Wozniacki and live happily ever after? Who knows, and who cares?
He will only be 23 once. He should live his life as he chooses.
And stop and smell the roses when he can.
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