DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Embroiled in court cases on both sides of the Atlantic, Rory McIlroy has bemoaned the off-course distractions that have forced him to replace winning golf titles with making trips to lawyers' offices.
The Northern Irishman remains without a victory in 2013 as he returns to Dubai this week to defend the last title he captured, the European Tour’s climactic DP World Tour Championship, and has slipped from No. 1 in the rankings to No. 6.
In the intervening 12 months, he has become tied up in legal wrangles against his former management company, Horizon Sports Management, and the other against his former sponsor, Oakley.
"I've seen more lawyers' offices and more lawyers this year than I care to see in my entire life," McIlroy said on Tuesday. "It's not something I ever want to go through again, and I'm making sure that I won't go through it again.
"As a golfer, you want your mind as clear as possible, and it's hard for that to happen when you've got other things that are going on that, firstly, you don't want to happen, and secondly, you don't feel should be happening. It has been a distraction and I haven't had to deal with it as much as some of the guys around me."
McIlroy, whose relationship with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki has also made the headlines this year, said he was taking some advice from Tiger Woods about how to handle his off-course issues.
"Sometimes you have to say `no' and sometimes you have to put yourself first and say `no,' and I need to do this for myself to maintain the level in my game," McIlroy said.
"It's something Tiger actually said to me last year. He said you have to remember what got you here in the first place, and you know Tiger, it's `no' 99 percent of the time for him."
McIlroy won last year's DP World Tour Championship at the Jumeriah Estates course when he birdied the closing five holes to overcome Justin Rose and end the year with money titles in Europe and on the PGA Tour.
He still has two more tournaments left in 2013, the Australian Open in Sydney and the Tiger Woods-hosted World Challenge at Thousand Oaks.