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McIlroy expects 'difficult' week

Rory McIlroy was hoping the first round of the BMW PGA Championship would take his mind off his personal troubles on Thursday.

McIlroy announced on Wednesday that his relationship with former world number one tennis player Caroline Wozniacki was over because he was not ready for marriage - even though wedding invitations had just been sent out.

Although a statement from the two-time major winner's representatives initially said he would not discuss the situation further, a visibly upset McIlroy answered questions in his scheduled pre-tournament press conference just two hours later.

"I just want to get my head into golf this week and concentrate on the tournament and try and do well," McIlroy said. "(I've) been playing well. The form's been good. I just want to dive straight into it and keep myself somewhat busy and just try and have a good week on the course.

"I'm not going to lie. It's going to be very difficult. But at least when I get inside the ropes just try and concentrate on the shot at hand."

Asked if he had been tempted to withdraw from an event in which he has missed the cut in each of the last two years, the 25-year-old added: "No, I didn't think there was any reason to do that.

"I made a commitment to be here. It's the European Tour's flagship event. I'm very proud to be part of the European Tour. The European Tour have been very good to me over the last number of years and I thought it was my duty to come back and play in this event. Once I gave my word that I would, I wasn't going to go back on it."

Ian Poulter expressed similar sentiments after revealing he had suffered a back injury in the gym last week which meant he initially rated his chances of playing at just 10 per cent.

That figure increased to 70 per cent following treatment and practice on Wednesday afternoon, with the 38-year-old due to undergo further treatment on Thursday ahead of his 12.40 tee-time alongside Sweden's Jonas Blixt and Italy's Francesco Molinari.

"My expectations won't be very high, I have to say, but I'd like to play," said Poulter, who has fallen outside the automatic Ryder Cup qualifying places.

"I'm here, it is Wentworth, it's a big tournament. I think it's important to the tour that I try and play, but I have to be mindful.... as long as I can't injure myself any more, that has to take priority.

"I am mindful of the fact that there are some big tournaments coming up. We've still got three majors to go, World Golf Championship events, obviously this is a key week and there are a few events before Ryder Cup qualification which I'd like to play well in."