The Golfer of the Year – an award Ballesteros won on three occasions in 1986, ‘88 and ‘91 – is voted for by the golf media. He beat off competition from Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton and Rookie of the Year Jon Rahm...
McIlroy admits Wentworth challenge will be difficult
Rory McIlroy says he is expecting a tough time when he steps onto the field at this week’s PGA Championship with his desire to win another major event and his sudden breakup with tennis player fiancée Caroline Wozniacki playing heavily on his mind.
The newspapers are today spilling over with the shocking news that McIlroy, 25, and Danish former world number one Wozniacki, 23, announced they had split on Wednesday. And of course this has led to many asking whether McIlroy will be mentally prepared for Wentworth, which begins today.
"I'm not going to lie, it's going to be very difficult," McIlroy said. "I just want to dive straight into it and keep myself somewhat busy."
The two-time major winner and Wozniacki announced their engagement on New Year’s Eve to much publicity and fanfare, but in a statement read out on Wednesday the Northern Irishman said he was not ready for “all that marriage entails.”
McIlroy also said he had not considered withdrawing from an event in which he has missed the cut in each of the last two years. "I just want to get my head into golf this week and concentrate on the tournament and try and do well," he explained.
"I've been playing well. At least when I get inside the ropes, I can just try and concentrate on the shot at hand.
"My schedule right now is here, Memorial and US Open, Irish Open, Scottish Open, British Open. I don't think that's going to change."
Fans of McIlroy can see his tee off a 13:00 BST Thursday with former winner Ernie Els and Welshman Jamie Donaldson, 10 minutes after US Open Champion Justin Rose begins his opening round.
Englishman Ian Poulter’s involvement in the event has been cast into doubt with an apparent back problem. Poulter has missed the cut eight times at the European Tour’s flagship event and it is reported that he got the injury while working in the gym.
"I'm struggling a bit," he said. "The good news is it is only muscle spasm. It's about trusting to hit a shot without getting the feeling of someone jabbing me in the back with a knife."
World number eight Rose said the championship had a special place in his heart and described it as a tournament he would love to win, saying: "It's a bucket-list tournament for me. It's one I grew up watching as a kid, so it's special. Apart from the majors, a World Golf Championship possibly, I don't see a tournament I would more like to win."