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Rory McIIroy has revealed that his wife, Erica, is imminently expecting their first child and that he will pull out of Sunday’s last round of the BMW Championship or next week’s Tour Championship should the call come.
McIlroy kept a phone in his pocket last week when playing in Boston and this week in Illinois his caddie, Harry Diamond, has been entrusted with the instant communications should Erica go into labour. And despite McIlroy being only three shots off the lead in the $9.5m event he is unequivocal.
“I’m out of here [if the call happens],” McIIlroy said, before saying this applies to the final of the FedEx Cup play-off, that starts in Atlanta on Thursday, where he will be in contention to replicate last year’s success and pick up $15m.
“Yeah, definitely, just depending on what happens. I'm going to play in many more Tours Championships and it's only going to be the birth of your first child once. That trumps anything else…
“We’re about to be parents very soon, so we're obviously super excited. Yeah, we've been sharing the news with friends and family, obviously, but I didn't think it was something that I really particularly needed to share out here. It's a private matter, but we're really excited and can't wait for her to get here.”
The pair married in Ireland in 2017, before setting up home in Jupiter, South Florida. Erica, the 33-year-old who is originally from New York, was the PGA of America employee who famously helped divert a crisis at the 2012 Ryder Cup when McIlroy overslept on the final day and almost missed his singles tee-time.
They have made a point of keeping their private life exactly that with McIlroy saying before their wedding: “We have really just tried to keep it low key. Erica is a very low key person, not the kind to broadcast stuff.”
Inevitably, there will be many who link the impending third member of the family with McIlroy’s recent poor run of form.
The 31-year-old has not won yet in 2020 and has been mediocre since the game resumed after the lockdown, without a top 10 in his seven events and a tie for 33rd in the recent USPGA Championship, the season’s first major. McIlroy has slipped from world No 1 to No 4 in the last two months.
Mcilroy, however, is steering clear of this narrative. “It's definitely not an excuse - I just haven't played well enough,’ he said. “But again, it's a nice… I keep talking about perspective. If you do play bad, I've got some awesome stuff coming up on the horizon, which is really cool, and it makes the bad days a lot easier to handle.”
Dustin Johnson is the obvious favourite to prevail at Olympia Fields, having won last week. The world No 1 is level with Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama on one-under, with two back to a group on one-over including Adam Scott. Spain’s Jon Rahm is alongside McIlroy on two-over.