Rory McIlroy won’t forget the early days of the summer of 2014 in a hurry.
But if all goes to plan over the next few years, it could go down as the time he took full control of his career and his life.
Notwithstanding his momentous decision to cancel his wedding and break up with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki just days before his wonderful victory in the BMW PGA at Wentworth, there are huge things happening on and off the course for the world No 6.
Opting to make himself available for selection for Ireland in the 2016 Olympic Games was a heartfelt decision by the Holywood man, who played all his amateur golf in an Ireland shirt.
From a business point of view, it makes perfect sense for a US based golfer to identify with Ireland, given the massive Irish-American population there.
But there is “Rory McIlroy” the brand and Rory McIlroy the golfer and while it would be easy to believe that all his decisions are business orientated, there is a human being at the centre of all this and he’s simply maturing and taking his life into his own hands.
Explaining his decision to opt for Ireland ahead of Team Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the 2016, he said: “It was a decision that I felt I needed to make myself, because it's something that you have to live with.”
As he pointed out, nobody put a gun to his head.
“So basically all mine,” he said. “It’s taken me long enough to sort of get over the hurdle, but it's definitely the right decision.”
While the legal dispute with his former management company Horizon Sports Management remains to be resolved — just who is holding up an out of court settlement remains to be seen — the up and down nature of McIlroy’s game is a reflection of the upheaval in his private life until recently.
With such a strong personality, it is only natural that McIlroy does not shy away from taking tough decisions. But his single-mindedness on the course does not always pay off.
Loathe to take the easy way out, he will frequently got for “the shot” no matter how high the tariff.
But if we are to analyse his inconsistency in the Irish Open, we can point to the physical and mental exhaustion of six events in an eight-week spell.
Despite missing the cut, he appeared to form a bond with the Irish fans that wasn’t always evident in previous Irish Open appearances.
This is a new era for McIlroy and while he might be declaring for Ireland in the Olympics, he is clearly betting on his own good judgement when it comes to his life and his career.
WeeMac is growing up and it’s good to see.