ROCHESTER, New York has been good to Rory McIlroy.
His first trip came in 2013, a year after winning the PGA Championship, where he was given a heroic welcome.
His second appearance in 2015 caused quite a stir in the local community when he began dating local Erica Stoll.
The world No. 3 had just split from a high-profile romance with former tennis No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki.
This breakup became a tabloid topic for a man who didn’t feel comfortable in a celebrity couple.
But this was a more intimate and quiet affair.
They invited 2Vine, now known as Redd, over for dinner. The new couple were also spotted having drinks at the Magpie Irish Pub, while viewers saw they looked in love.
Within eight months, McIlroy and Stoll became engaged in Paris. The city of love.
In 2017, the couple entered the five-star Ashford Castle Hotel on the west coast of Ireland.
Lute! Stevie Wonder and Ed Sheeran entertained.
Three years later, McIlroy and Stoll welcomed daughter Poppy into the world at Jupiter Medical Center in Florida.
SunSport delves into their tumultuous romance, beginning with how they met.
She worked for the PGA
An avid tennis player in high school, Stoll graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in marketing in 2008.
She soon landed a job as the PGA’s volunteer championship operations manager, frequently interacting with players and telling them where they needed to be.
It was her awareness that saved McIlroy from missing his start time at the 2012 Ryder Cup after some confusion about the time zone.
She alerted officers and a police escort was organized to ensure he arrived on time.
He was forever grateful to him and the firm friends soon became much more.
‘Down to earth’
The hustle and bustle of town on their first date made it difficult for McIlroy and Stoll to remain discreet.
One waitress told the Democrat and Chronicle as they left 2Vine: “Everyone in the restaurant was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s Rory McIlroy! That’s Rory McIlroy!’”
But what McIlroy liked about Stoll and their relationship was that she was unaffected and down to earth.
He told the Irish Independent in 2017: “I can be myself around her.”
“I love that (she) knows everything about me and there was no judgement. From day one there was no judgement, which is huge because that’s very hard to find for someone in my position.”
Privacy is key
While their romance blossomed, the two kept their relationship to themselves.
To date, Stoll’s Instagram is set to private.
And there were numerous stipulations that producers had to agree to when filming McIlroy for the Netflix documentary series Full Swing.
He told the Golf Channel, “I made sure the parameters are very similar: look, you can film me — you don’t come at my house, you don’t come in my car, you don’t get anywhere in the.” Close to my family, but if you want to do some stuff with me at golf tournaments, that’s totally fine.
When it came to announcing they were parents-to-be, McIlroy made the big reveal just two days before Poppy was born.
Speaking of the BMW Championship, he said: “We’re going to be parents very soon, so of course we’re very excited. Yes, of course we shared the news with friends and family, but I didn’t think about it.” It was something I really had to share here.
“It’s a private matter, but we’re really excited and can’t wait for her to get here.”
McIlroy owes a lot when it comes to Rochester, New York.
With the PGA Championship being held there at Oak Hill, perhaps winning the tournament would be something to be grateful for.