The Shady Side Of Rory McIlroy Everyone Ignores

Rory McIlroy is well on his way to being remembered as one of the greatest golfers of all time. He's not quite at GOAT status like his buddy Tiger Woods, but he's certainly getting there. Despite facing a major drought in 2024, including a heartbreaking loss in the U.S. Open, his track record proves he's a master of the tee.

While the Northern Ireland native is generally a class act, he's not always gracious in defeat. Case in point: his U.S. Open meltdown. He left the course without so much as a congratulatory message to the winner, a runner-up's appearance, or a word to the media, causing fans to give him the side-eye. The next day, though, he did release a lengthy statement announcing a brief hiatus from the sport. "Yesterday was a tough day, probably the toughest I've had in my nearly 17 years as a professional golfer. Firstly, I'd like to congratulate Bryson. He is a worthy champion and exactly what professional golf needs right now. I think we can all agree on that," he wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "I'm going to take a few weeks away from the game to process everything and build myself back up for my defense."

Sure, McIlroy managed to turn things around, but let's be real, this isn't his first sore loser moment. And that's not the only thing shady about the athlete. Over the years, he's faced infidelity allegations involving his wife and even accusations of bending the rules during games.

Is Rory McIlroy a sore loser?

Losing your cool is part and parcel of being an athlete, but Rory McIlroy takes it to a whole new level. After his 2019 European Tour loss, instead of just expressing disappointment over his performance, he took a swipe at the tournament itself for not being designed for players (translation: him) to win. "I'm sort of honestly sick of coming back over to the European Tour and shooting 15 under par and finishing 30th," he said, according to CBS Sports. "I don't think the courses are set up hard enough. ... It's tough when you come back and it's like that."

Fans didn't let these comments slide, with many calling out his sore loser behavior. "This is why I have grown to dislike Rory McIlroy so much. It's the same for all the players so if it's so easy, why isn't he scoring 30 under. Sour grapes I say, child like behaviour," one tweeted, with another saying, "@McIlroyRory his own fault for shooting -15! If the course was that difficult, the winner wouldnt be on -22! His own fault for being poor on the greens that week, sore loser in my mind"

And let's not forget the time in 2015 when he got so heated that he chucked his golf club into a lake. But at least he had the decency to admit he was wrong. "You're trying to shoot the best score possible and sometimes you do things that you wish you hadn't," he said at the time, Firstpost notes. "Frustration got the better of me. ... It wasn't very role modelish of me."

He sometimes calls his colleagues names in public

In addition to his occasional temper tantrums, Rory McIlroy sometimes lets his vitriol spill over into the media. A prime example is his fiery comments about fellow golfer Patrick Cantlay in an interview with the Irish Independent, where he dropped an uncalled-for expletive.

"Here's what angered me. My relationship with Cantlay is average at best. We don't have a ton in common and see the world quite differently," he said, recalling the time when he had a verbal altercation with some players and caddies at the 2023 Ryder Cup, according to the New York Post. "And they're trying to defuse the situation, but I start having a go at them. Joe LaCava used to be a nice guy when he was caddying for Tiger, and now he's caddying for that d**k [Cantlay] he's turned into a... I still wasn't in a great headspace."

Name-calling? Really, Rory? That's some high school drama right there. His outburst just highlights his ongoing struggle with composure, and fans were quick to call out his antics. "Again ... all mouth from this guy !!! Drama drama drama," one fan wrote. "Rory never met a microphone he didnt love," observed another. While McIlroy's talent on the golf course is undeniable, his penchant for drama makes him a tough sell as a hero.

He gets involved in long-running feuds

Ask Rory McIlroy who his golf heroes were growing up, and he'll name-drop Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia. But just because they're his idols doesn't mean he's shy about butting heads with them. The world's No. 2 didn't hold back in airing his beef with Garcia, especially after the latter jumped ship to LIV.

The pair used to be close friends and teammates, having even been invited to each other's weddings. But things took a nosedive when Garcia decided to join a different tour, a decision McIlroy took offense over. "On the Friday of the U.S. Open ... I woke up to a text that was sent at 5.30 that morning. He had an early tee time, I didn't, and I woke up to this text basically telling me to shut up about LIV, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah," he told the Irish Independent (via Golf). "I was pretty offended and sent him back a couple of daggers, and that was it."

Garcia, meanwhile, thought McIlroy was being a tad unreasonable for being so worked up over a professional decision that he didn't hesitate to throw their friendship away. "I think it is very sad. I think that we've done so many things together and had so many experiences that for him to throw that away just because I decided to go to a different tour, well, it doesn't seem very mature; lacking maturity, really," he shared with The Telegraph. "I respect his choices, but it seems like he doesn't respect the ones I make." Yikes!

He's been hit with infidelity allegations

In May 2024, Rory McIlroy and his wife Erica Stoll shocked fans with their announcement that they were parting ways. According to documents obtained by the New York Post, their marriage was "irretrievably broken," and sources pointed to McIlroy's laser-sharp focus on his career as the culprit for ending their nearly decade-long relationship. Adding fuel to the fire, rumors swirled that McIlroy had an affair with CBS reporter Amanda Balionis, who, according to a body language expert, was seriously crushing on the golfer.

But not even a month later, the couple pulled a U-turn and announced they were giving it another go after managing to patch things up. "Over the past weeks, Erica and I have realized that our best future was as a family together. Thankfully, we have resolved our differences and look forward to a new beginning," he said in a statement to The Guardian, adding that he does not want to dwell on whatever is being said about him in the rumor mill. "There have been rumors about my personal life recently, which is unfortunate. Responding to each rumor is a fool's game."

While many fans were ecstatic that they got to iron out the kinks in their relationship, some are still quite skeptical. "I can't imagine being with a man who's accused of cheating with someone he sees often at his workplace, and the whole world believes it, whether it's true or not," LPGA Tour player Jenny Shin wrote in a tweet. "That's some strength."

Rory has also been accused of bending game rules

At The Players Championship in March 2024, Rory McIlroy found himself in a bit of a pickle. One of his shots sparked a debate, with even his fellow players scratching their heads over whether it landed above or below the hazard line. Viewers were equally baffled, left wondering how no one could figure out what to do next. "The announcers seemed unsure as well. Bad look for golf?" one fan tweeted.

In the end, McIlroy trusted his gut and decided the ball went above the line, according to CNN. It was a call he felt alright about and one he could live with. While the doubters remained, McIlroy made it clear that he wouldn't dream of breaking the rules, fearing it would haunt him later. "If I feel like I've done something wrong, it'll play on my conscience for the rest of the tournament," he said. "I'm a big believer in karma and if you do something wrong, I feel like it's going to come around and bite you at some point. I obviously didn't try to do anything wrong out there. I tried to play by the rules and do the right thing. I feel like I obviously did that with those two drops."