Rory McIlroy with wife Erica ahead of the 2023 Ryder Cup. GETTY IMAGES

Ahead of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky, the scene of his last major win in 2014, Rory McIlroy has filed for divorce after seven years of marriage to Erica Stoll.

The Northern Irish golfer, ranked two in the world behind Scottie Scheffler, is among the favourites for this week's second major of 2024 having won his last two tournaments on the PGA Tour,

After securing his fourth victory in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow on Sunday - Mother's Day in the United States - McIlroy raised eyebrows by not acknowledging his wife who is the mother of their three-year-old daughter Poppy.

The day after his 26th PGA Tour triumph, McIlroy filed for divorce in Palm Beach County Court with Thomas Sasser - who represented Tiger Woods when he was divorced by Elin Nordegren in 2010 - listed as his attorney.

In the petition, the 35-year-old requested that a prenuptial agreement be enforced with the marriage "irretrievably broken".

The couple met at the 2012 Ryder Cup in Medinah, Illinois where Stoll was working for the PGA. At that time, McIlroy was in a relationship with Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki. McIlroy broke off their engagement by phone in May 2014 after wedding invites had already been sent out.

McIlroy started seeing Stoll soon after and they married in County Mayo, Ireland in May 2017. The family home is in Jupiter, Florida where Woods and a number of other top golfers also live.

Rory McIlroy with wife Erica and daughter Poppy at the 2023 Masters Par-3 tournament. GETTY IMAGES
Rory McIlroy with wife Erica and daughter Poppy at the 2023 Masters Par-3 tournament. GETTY IMAGES

A statement from McIlroy's representative read, "Rory McIlroy’s communications team confirmed today that a divorce has been filed. They stressed Rory’s desire to ensure this difficult time is as respectful and amicable as possible. He will not be making any further comment."

He is certain to face questions about the impending divorce when he gives a press conference on Wednesday, the day before the PGA Championship gets underway. Brooks Koepka is the defending champion after his victory at Oak Hill 12 months ago.

Scheffler, whose wife Meredith gave birth to their first child last week, is bidding for back-to-back major wins after claiming his second Masters title last month. The world number one faces upheaval of his own should he make the midway cut. Caddie Ted Scott will miss Saturday's action to attend his daughter's high-school graduation with Scheffler's close friend Brad Payne carrying the bag.