Rory McIlroy, girlfriend split

January, 12, 2011
01/12/11
1:22
PM ET

Among the reasons Rory McIlroy cited late last year for giving up his PGA Tour membership was his desire to spend more time with girlfriend Holly Sweeney.

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Rory McIlroy and Holly Sweeney
Press Association/AP ImagesRory McIlroy, 21, started dating Holly Sweeney when he was 16.

It seems that McIlroy, 21, felt spending so much time in the United States wasn't good for the relationship -- which now, apparently, has ended anyway.

The Evening Herald in Dublin is reporting that McIlroy and Sweeney have parted ways after nearly six years. They began dating when he was 16 in their hometown of Holywood, Northern Ireland.

"Holly has another two years of uni and we have two dogs, a nice house and I love my life back in Ireland, back in Europe and I don't ever want to give that up,'' McIlroy said when he disclosed the surprising news that he would not keep his PGA Tour membership -- even though he won the Quail Hollow Championship last year.

Of course, McIlroy did offer other reasons, one of which was the grind of the FedEx Cup playoffs in August and September and his longing to be at other events in Europe during that period.

What he didn't say, however, was that many of the tournaments for which he'll sign up on the European Tour will pay him to be there -- in the form of appearance fees.

McIlroy, who is ranked 12th in the world, took a lengthy break after playing in the Chevron World Challenge. He is now in the Middle East practicing and preparing for his first tournament of the year, next week's Abu Dhabi Championship.

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.

Bob Harig | email

Golf Writer, ESPN.com

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