Fiancee's calming aura suits McIlroy to a T

LONDON • He will understandably never make public comparisons between fiancees but Rory McIlroy's citing of the "calming presence" of Erica Stoll seems pertinent in the light of his recent engagement.

Those who may raise an eyebrow at the Northern Irish golfer's desire to contemplate marriage for a second time in as many years serve an injustice to circumstances.

Speaking at length for the first time since Stoll accepted his proposal in Paris this month, McIlroy on Thursday swatted aside any fears of impingement to his career. Quite the opposite.

This marks a different scenario to the one in which he found himself, when he was engaged to tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, who was headline news in her own right.

Stoll has rarely caught, and never sought, the limelight. That their engagement was not publicised is in itself telling.

"Erica has been around me quite a lot at tournaments but we have really just tried to keep it low key," McIlroy said.

"She is a very low-key person, not the kind to broadcast stuff, but that side of my life is really good just now. We are excited, our parents are excited so it is a really happy time.

"For me, Erica brings such a level of normality to everything.

"She has a calming presence, a sereneness and that's not just on me; it is noticeable in any company. She never wants to be the centre of attention and is always very comfortable in the background," he added.

McIlroy said Stoll has been a "great influence on me and has given such a great balance to my life - between who I am when people see me out here and who I am at home".

The world No. 3 golfer, speaking during a visit to Facebook's European headquarters in Dublin, said a wedding next year is not in the offing because of scheduling pressures.

This admission summed up the 26-year-old's calm approach, which has not always been the case when discussing his personal life.

"I'm all for people scrutinising my golf or criticising me for going to play football," McIlroy said. "I'm happy; again it is about balance, and everyone around me is happy. That makes it so much easier to go out and play because that side of things is calm."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2015, with the headline 'Fiancee's calming aura suits McIlroy to a T'. Print Edition | Subscribe