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Hear no evil, speak no evil: McIlroy responds to Player

Rory McIlroy at the 2013 Masters
Getty Images

AKRON, Ohio – Gary Player recently offered some unsolicited advice to Rory McIlroy about his love life. Apparently everyone’s heard about it except McIlroy himself.

“I haven't heard. I don't know what you're talking about,” McIlroy said Wednesday. “What did he say?”

Last week, the 77-year-old Player told My Sporting Life: “When you’re in love as a young man naturally golf seems to take second place for a while. It’s natural. Love is still the greatest thing that ever happens in our lives. But the thing is for a man like Rory with talent galore he’s got to make sure he has a woman like I’ve got, who has been married [to me] for 56 years, that has only encouraged me to do well and made sacrifices. He’s got to be intelligent and find the right wife. If he finds the right wife, if he practices and if he’s dedicated, he could be the man.”

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When apprised of the content of these comments, McIlroy, who is famously dating professional tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, smiled and took the high road.

“I have the utmost respect for Gary Player,” he said. “He is an incredible man. Obviously the success he's had on the golf course, but just the way he's lived his life and how healthy he is. Obviously he's an inspiration for everyone. I don't know what he said. This is the first time I've heard it. I don't really know, all I know is I've got a lot of respect for the man, and he's someone that I definitely look up to.”

As for McIlroy’s game, despite a missed cut in his last start at the Open Championship that was punctuated by an admission of lost confidence, he maintained that he is optimistic heading into this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

“I was sitting up here this time last year probably not feeling as if my game was in great shape,” he said in reference to a T-5 result at this event that led to a PGA Championship victory. “I'm sitting up here this year a lot more positive. So that's a great sign.

“If something similar could happen like it did last year, get a good finish here or get into contention, obviously that would set me up for the last major of the season and going on from there, set me up for the great end of the year.”