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Rory McIlroy tees off at 2024 PGA Championship amid divorce from Erica Stoll as he returns focus to golf

Rory McIlroy is underway at the PGA Championship as the Northern Irishman turns his attention to golf after filing for divorce from wife Erica Stoll.

News of McIlroy’s impending divorce came on the eve of this week’s major championship in Kentucky, where his communications team confirmed he was separating from Stoll seven years after their marriage.

The 35-year-old declined to discuss the subject during a press conference on Wednesday, instead emphasizing that his only goal was to return to action at Valhalla Golf Club.

And amid the drama surrounding his personal life, he hit the tee Thursday morning to officially begin his campaign at this year’s PGA Championship.

His first short, however, did not go as planned, drifting left of the fairway and into the rough to mark a disappointing start to the championship.

Rory McIlroy is underway at the PGA Championship as he turns his attention to golf after filing for divorce from wife Erica Stoll

Rory McIlroy is underway at the PGA Championship as he turns his attention to golf after filing for divorce from wife Erica Stoll

News of McIlroy's divorce from Stoll (pictured with daughter Poppy) came on the eve of this week's major championship in Kentucky.

News of McIlroy’s divorce from Stoll (pictured with daughter Poppy) came on the eve of this week’s major championship in Kentucky.

The Northern Irishman took the start on Thursday morning and sent his first drive into the rough.

The Northern Irishman took the start on Thursday morning and sent his first drive into the rough.

McIlroy and Stoll (pictured together at the 2023 Ryder Cup) married in 2017

McIlroy and Stoll (pictured together at the 2023 Ryder Cup) married in 2017

McIlroy skipped the PGA Champions dinner just hours after announcing his divorce on Tuesday, while previous winners such as Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas were in attendance.

He was, however, seen training at Valhalla before, and then again on Wednesday, ahead of his first round on Thursday.

The four-time major champion reportedly filed divorce papers Monday, just three days before the start of the PGA Championship, the second major of the year, and fresh off his latest victory at the Wells Fargo Championship last weekend.

After confirming he had filed for divorce, McIlroy’s communications team stressed his desire to ensure the process was “as respectful and amicable as possible.”

Court documents filed in Palm Beach County and obtained by DailyMail.com indicated their marriage was “irretrievably broken.”

The couple, who share three-year-old daughter Poppy Kennedy, born in 2020, married in 2017 after a storybook encounter at the 2012 Ryder Cup.

McIlroy faced the media on Wednesday but refused to answer questions about the divorce

McIlroy faced the media on Wednesday but refused to answer questions about the divorce

He was also nowhere to be seen at the PGA Champions Dinner (pictured) on Tuesday evening.

He was also nowhere to be seen at the PGA Champions Dinner (pictured) on Tuesday evening.

McIlroy, whose career earnings stand at almost £69 million ($87 million), first met Erica, 35, from New York state, at the tournament. ‘Illinois, during which she worked for the PGA.

He has already credited the American with helping him make his departure in Medinah – thanks to a police escort – after he missed his alarm.

He then won his match against Keegan Bradley in what was later hailed as the “Miracle of Medina”.

Although they initially met at the Ryder Cup that year, it wasn’t until a few years later that the two formed a relationship.

Months after calling off his engagement to tennis star Caroline Wozniacki in 2014, McIlroy and Stoll reunited before getting engaged a year later.

The four-time major champion and Stoll kept their relationship largely private before tying the knot in a lavish ceremony in Ireland in 2017.

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