On Sunday, within hours of each other, Rory McIlroy and Caroline Wozniacki both won titles.
It’s Rory’s second win since he abruptly called of their engagement, and Caroline’s first.
We like to think we’ve been at the forefront of Wozzilroy analytics. Back in the summer of 2013, when Rory kept missing cuts like crazy and Caroline keep getting losing to people we’d never heard of, we took a look at the numbers and came to the NOT AT ALL OVERSTATED conclusion that they were actively destroying each other’s careers.
We are here to present facts, nothing more. And now that the two 20-somethings have gone their separate ways, it’s time to revisit the numbers and see how each player fared before, during, and after their all-too-brief love affair.
Let’s start with Caroline.
When she started dating Rory on July 18, 2011 — as determined by the first time they were spotted eating together — Caro was on fire.
In her first 15 tournaments of 2011, she won five titles. Things went downhill from there, though.
In the 61 tournaments while she was dating McIlroy, she won only four titles.
The complete breakdown:
Wozniacki fell into an extended slump that coincided with her relationship with Rory. She won about 68% of her matches between July 2011 and May 2014 — falling out of the top-10 and not winning the Grand Slam title that everyone assumed was inevitable in the first half of 2011.
There are rational, non-Rory-related reasons for this. She fired a bunch of coaches, had a falling-out with her racket sponsor, and suffered a small injury or two. More than any of that, she was the victim of her own hype. She rose to No. 1 in the world at age 20 in 2010 at a time when players like Victoria Azarenka had yet to emerge. She had little success in majors up to that point, and expectations were way too high.
Her dominance between January and July of 2011 was probably the exception, while her results in the Rory era are a more accurate depiction of her ability at a player.
The post-Rory era, though, is off to a promising start. She made the Round of 16 at Wimbledon for the first time since 2011, she won in Istanbul, and she made the semis of Eastbourne before losing to 5th-ranked Angelique Kerber.
Could Caroline return to her pre-Rory glory now that he’s out of the picture?!!?!??!!!
Maybe. We’ll see.
Now on to Rory…
His trajectory before, during, and after Caroline is a bit different. While he did have that slump in 2013, on average he has been getting better and better since 2011.
Whereas Caroline’s rise to prominence happened right before she got together with Rory, Rory’s rise to prominence occurred right after he got together with Caroline. He won the 2011 U.S. Open, and then asserted himself as the best young player in the world. Even with the disastrous 2013, he finished top-10 in more than 56% of the tournaments he entered during the Caroline era, compared to 40% in the first six months of 2011.
After the break up, he has been fantastic. He won the BMW the week after calling off the engagement, and then ran away from the field at the Open Championship. We could be witnessing the rise of golf’s next great dominant force.
Things are good for Wozzilroy right now. She’s gallivanting around the world with her new best friend Serena Williams. He’s running around with an Irish model. Time will tell if the on-court/course hot streak lasts, but they’re both on fire.
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