Caroline Wozniacki with Rory McIlroy’s father Gerry in Dubai. Picture Fran Caffrey www.golffile.ieGreg Norman believes that Caroline Wozniacki holds the key to Rory McIlroy’s seemingly inevitable march towards becoming world number one.

The two-time major winning Australian confessed at the Honda Classic yesterday that he is “a huge fan” of the Holywood star who represents a new generation of super-fit golfing athletes who can dominate the game for years to come.

And having watch McIlroy become stronger and longer than ever and cruise to world number two since beginning his romance with the Danish tennis star last summer, Norman is convinced that there is no better inspiration for the Irish star.

“Caroline Wozniacki is probably the best partner Rory can have because she is physically strong, she has to be that way for her sport,” said Norman, who was married to former tennis star Chris Evert when he challenged Padraig Harrington for The Open at the age of 53 in 2008.  

“So for Rory and the two of them to be respectively going through their careers at this young age doing the same thing in the highest possible echelon, there’s no better partner to have sitting beside you than someone who understands what it takes to do is.  

“I think the great counterbalance for Rory right now is Caroline Wozniacki.  I don’t know how close they are but it just seems like they are on the same path privately and professionally.”

Wozniacki will fly in to West Palm Beach this weekend to support her 22-year old boyfriend as he tries to win the Honda Classic and overtake Luke Donald to mecome the first Irish player to reach top of the Offical World Golf Rankings.

Indeed, he’s already admitted that the former tennis number one is a huge inspiration to him as he bids to become the best player on the planet.

“I think we definitely spur each other on. She’s number one in the world and I’ve got a major, and we sort of both want what each other have,” McIlroy said recently. “It’s a big goal of mine. I want to become the best player in the world. She’s got a great work ethic and it’s something I can probably learn a lot from. It’s a lot more physically demanding than golf.”

Asked about Wozniacki’s influence yesterday, McIlroy said: “I think we both help each other in that regard, because you know, to be honest, being around the tennis scene for the last few months, you realise how much more intense it is than what we do out here.  They practice so hard.

“I feel like most of the guys out here have a pretty good relationship with each other and the camaraderie is pretty good.  You know, it seems like everyone keeps to themselves a little bit more in tennis and everything is just a little bit more intense.

“And for Caroline, especially to get away from that sometimes, is quite a nice thing.  And for me, it’s nice to see something different and to see how hard they work.  I mean, they work so hard.  That sort of made me realize that I could probably work harder and give me a little bit more motivation to go in the gym and hit more balls.  It’s definitely paid off.”