Rory McIlroy married his wife, Erica Stoll, in Ireland back in 2017. Before meeting Stoll, however, McIlroy had a few other relationships of note. He dated Holly Sweeney for nearly a decade before falling in love with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki. The two became engaged only to break up a short while later.
McIlroy was also rumored to have flings with Irish media personality Katie Larmour and Suits star Meghan Markle, the latter of whom became a part of the British royal family when she married Prince Harry back in May.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He Married Erica Stoll at a Castle in Ireland in 2017 & Ed Sheeran Performed at the Wedding
McIlroy married Erica Stoll on April 22, 2017, at Ashford Castle, in Cong, County Mayo, Ireland. Ashford Castle is a medieval, Victorian-era castle built in the 13th century. It has been converted, in modern times, into a five-star luxury resort. According to the Belfast Telegraph, McIlroy and Stoll spent their first evening together as a married couple in a suite at the castle that goes for £3,000 pounds ($4,200 USD) a night.
The Telegraph reports that the venue was locked down for the affair Friday morning after the last of the wedding guests arrived. McIlroy’s security chief, Brian Murphy (who also works for legendary Irish rock band U2), supervised security for the event.
The four-day soiree was attended by several well-known celebrities. The happy couple was joined by singer Niall Horan, actor Jamie Dornan and fellow golfers Sergio Garcia, Shane Lowry and Paul McGinley, according to Golf Magazine. Various outlets reported that Martin Kaymer and Padraig Harrington were also in attendance.
The Irish Independent’s wedding site, The Vow, reports that Stevie Wonder was on hand to entertain guests, supported by a full orchestra. Additionally, Ed Sheeran performed the next day as part of the post-wedding celebrations.
2. He Met Stoll While She Was Working for the PGA Tour
Stoll and McIlroy first met when she was working for the PGA Tour. She famously saved him from missing his tee time on the final day of the Ryder Cup in Medina, Illinois, in 2012. It is unclear if the two had met before that time.
As the story goes, Stoll and Maggie Budzar were serving as transport officials for the event, when Budzar noticed that no one had seen or heard from McIlroy by mid morning and that his tee time was set for 11:25 a.m.
“It was 10:30 a.m., I knew [McIlroy’s caddie] JP Fitzgerald had left about an hour earlier. I knew Rory’s tee time was 11:25 and he was the third group to go off. And we still hadn’t seen him,” Budzar said via the Guardian.
“I started getting worried that something had happened to him or that he had taken a different ride to the course. There was only one room still in use when housekeeping checked and a male voice said not to come in. We figured it had to be him because by now we knew he wasn’t at the course,” the Guardian story continued.
McIlroy hadn’t been seen at the driving range, so Budzar called European Tour officials to let them know the situation. McIlroy, who thought his tee time was an hour later thanks to the time difference between Eastern and Central zones, was given a police escort to the course and managed to make his tee time. McIlroy won his match against Keegan Bradley to help Europe defeat the United States.
3. He Was Previously Engaged to Caroline Wozniacki
McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki started dating in 2011. According to the Daily Mail, the two met at a boxing match in Germany. They were seated next to each other during the fight between David Haye and Wladimir Klitschko and immediately hit it off. At the time, McIlroy was in a relationship with his long-time girlfriend, Holly Sweeney (whom you can read about in Fact No. 4).
“Then he got home, went straight to see the dogs instead of me, dodged me when he came through the door and then sat me down and told me that he met with her in Germany and that he wanted to see how it would go with her,” Sweeney told the Mirror after McIlroy left her for Wozniacki.
McIlroy and Wozniacki dated for three years before getting engaged. McIlroy proposed to the tennis star on New Year’s Eve in 2013. They began planning their wedding but ended up splitting just a few months later. The two broke things off just after they mailed out their wedding invitations.
“It is quite a difficult time for Caroline and myself, and the statement really said it all this morning. It was mutual and we both thought it was the best for us, the best for both of us. Time to move on, and I’ve said all that I need to say,” McIlroy said in a statement.
“What happens in my personal life, I just want to really keep that between my closest people around me. I just have to move on,” Wozniacki told the Associated Press.
“We’re keeping it to ourselves. All I can say is it will be a pretty small wedding. We’re really excited about it. I can’t say much more than that,” Wozniacki told E! News back in August.
4. He Dated Holly Sweeney From 2003 Through 2011
McIlroy’s first love (that the public knows about) was Holly Sweeney. The two started dating in 2003, when McIlroy was just a teenager. The two dated for several years and had at least one brief split.
“I had to do a lot of begging and groveling to get her back. Holly and I have been together since I had just turned 16 and she was 14. She knows me better than basically anyone else in this world does, apart from my parents. And someone like that with you is very grounding,” he said in the documentary, Rory’s Major Breakthrough, which aired on BBC.
They ended up parting ways for good in 2011 — just after McIlroy met Wozniacki.
“Rory McIlroy’s long-term relationship with Holly Sweeney came to an amicable end before the British Open,” read a statement released by the golfer’s management team.
Sweeney and McIlroy are “amicable” and Sweeney has even met Stoll — and gave the couple her blessing before they tied the knot.
“Of course I’d wish him well, we’re both very amicable. [Erica is] lovely. I’ve met her a couple of times here, she’s really dead on,” she said during an interview with Sunday World, according to the Belfast Telegraph.
Sweeney married Belfast hockey star Jeff Mason in 2016.
5. There Have Been Rumors That He Had a Fling With Meghan Markle
In 2014, a few months after his split from Wozniacki, McIlroy was linked to actress Meghan Markle. The rumors started after McIlroy nominated Markle to complete the Ice Bucket Challenge. She ended up agreeing to do it — but she had conditions: She wanted him to be the one to dump the ice water on her head. He obliged. You can see McIlroy dump water on Markle’s head in the video below.
The two were spotted out and about together around a couple of times, but nothing ever transpired. According to the Irish Mirror, McIlroy and Markle were “never more than friends.”
Markle married Prince Harry on May 19, 2018, at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom.