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Rory McIlroy Looking For Solace At Kolon Korea Open

Former world number one Rory McIlroy admitted he was “seeking solace” as he prepares to begin a lucrative three-week Asian adventure at the Kolon Korea Open on Thursday.

McIlroy will be competing in the $1million OneAsia Tour event at Woo Jeong Hills Country Club, which is based south of Seoul, after having taken a month off since failing to qualify for the USPGA Tour Championship.

His break from play has coincided with a split from his management company and rumours surround the Northern Irishman that his relationship with long-term girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki has hit the rocks.

The rumours were denied by the tennis player in a Danish newspaper on Tuesday, and were subject of a sharp response from McIlroy in Korea: "My private life is private. I'd like to keep it that way."

McIlroy also said he was just happy to be getting away from it all, saying in his press conference on Tuesday: "I'm just happy to be back on the golf course and doing what I do best. It's a nice place for a little bit of solace."

McIlroy tied for third at the Korea Open in 2009, and was the runner-up in 2011 to American Rickie Fowler.

"I've played good golf here before, but I haven't played quite well enough to win," he added. And with no opponents of Fowler's calibre this week, McIlroy fancies his chances despite his poor form; he has only recorded one top 10 finish in his last 10 starts. "Hopefully, it will be the third time lucky for me," he said.

McIlroy's main focus will likely be to use the event to get back some form and confidence for the bigger prizes ahead as he moves on next week to China for Shanghai's $7 million BMW Masters, where he was runner-up last year.

His hectic schedule will squeeze in another million-dollar payday in an exhibition match against Tiger Woods at Mission Hills on the southern island of Hainan, before he flies the 1 700 kilometres back to Shanghai for the WGC-HSBC Champions, an event carrying an $8.5 million prize fund. Last year McIlroy was the man in form as he swept aside all opposition, but this year he is yet to win in 2013, falling to sixth in the world rankings.