Tiger Woods and his Olympics skier girlfriend are all the rage among sports’ power couples these days, but that doesn’t mean Rory McIlroy and his tennis-star sweetie will cede the limelight all that readily.
While Woods attempts to steal the spotlight and the top ranking from his young rival this week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and the event’s legendary host expresses his dismay at the absence of the current No. 1, Wozzilroy is off partying in Miami. To ensure fans not forget that they’re still the fun-loving, rich young athletes they’ve always been, a dark, curly-headed Caroline Wozniacki took to Twitter to show off her Rory imitation.
McIlroy even sat down for a "Stars Glam Up" photo shoot during the glitzy affair.
Recovering from a horrendous loss in February’s Malaysian Open (which she suffered shortly before her beau quit the Honda Classic}, Wozniacki played her way into the finals of the BNP Paribas Open in California last week. She and Rory Mac partied with her cronies prior to this week’s Sony Open in Miami.
As for McIlroy ditching Arnie’s party, as he has done each year since he turned professional, the King was not amused and allowed that he would like to see him at Bay Hill.
"I sort of threw a casual fun at him. It was meant to be funny. I don't know whether it was or not," Palmer said, referring to last year’s remark that he would do the young Ulsterman bodily harm if he skipped his event. "It was kind of kidding when somebody said, ‘Is he playing?’ And I said, ‘Well, if he doesn't, I'm going to break his arm.’ But it was meant in jest, and it was strictly a passing remark."
Palmer noted he had not spoken with McIlroy or any member of his entourage for some time, but that did not diminish his disappointment at the two-time major champion's snub.
"He’s not [here], obviously, and I was surprised," Palmer told reporters Wednesday ahead of this week’s final leg of the Florida swing. "I thought that he would play and I’ve had conversations, brief conversations with him, some time ago, not recently, about his playing. For some reason, I got it in my mind that he would be playing, but that obviously is wrong."
Woods, who hoped to chalk up his eighth career win in Arnie’s backyard and lock up the No. 1 ranking, said he understood McIlroy's rationale for passing up the chance to tee it up in Orlando.
"He played a limited schedule to begin with last year," said Woods about McIlroy’s decision to skip Bay Hill in favor of next week’s Shell Houston Open as a tune-up for the Masters. "I think last year was his first year as a member of the [PGA] Tour and this is only his second year."
A schedule change for the 2013 season gave players additional time between Palmer’s event and the first major of the season -- a tweak that Woods said explained McIlroy’s travel plans.
"There is a big difference this year. We have two weeks before the Masters. That has a little bit to do with it, I think," Woods said. "Some of the guys are taking this week off and then playing two in a row in Texas [including the Valero Texas Open early next month] to get ready. Some guys are playing one. It's a different schedule than it has been in the past."
As for Palmer, he did not know why McIlroy stayed away but he promised not to lose any sleep over Rory's cold shoulder.
"What his reason or reasoning is, I don't know," Palmer said, "and I'm not going to worry about it."