McIlroy sheds tears watching Tiger’s Masters win
Rory McIlroy admits he and wife, Erica, had tears streaming down their faces watching highlights of Tiger Woods coming ‘full circle’ in capturing a fifth Masters and 15th Major title.
McIlroy sadly finished his own Augusta victory quest on the ninth green as Woods brought the sports world to their collective feet by doing the unthinkable.
A younger Rory McIlroy was the first player to win the Wells Fargo title twice (Credit: www.golffile.ie)
The McIlroy’s were back home in the comfort of their palatial Bears Club abode in Florida when they finally got to watch Woods’ emotional march to his 81st PGA Tour title and just one short of Sam Snead’s record.
“Winning this year’s Masters was like Tiger’s career had come a full circle,” said McIlroy.
“Walking off that 18th green in 1997 and hugging his father, Earl and then 22-years later and he’s hugging his kids, and everything that went on in between such as his great golf, bad golf, injuries, scandal and the whole lot was like it had just come full circle.”
“People have now started to see Tiger as a human begin again.”
“I cried whenever he hugged Charlie and then in hugging his two children, as it was so emotional, and I think a lot of people … I was sitting beside my wife Erica and I could see the tears flowing down her cheeks … and it was just unbelievable.”
“So, for me I felt like I was a 10-year old kid again watching Tiger win the Masters like I had done every year I had watched it.”
“I recall having lunch with Tiger in Jupiter just over two years ago, and it was March 2017, and he coming off the back of another surgery.”
“All he was thinking about was quality of life, watching his kids grow-up and being able to play soccer in the backyard, so his mind was not even on golf which sort of told me he was thinking that this could be it.”
“Then from stories I heard from the Masters Champions Dinner at Augusta that year, he was saying also the same things.”
“So, to think two years on and think of what has happened in his career is incredible and I feel like the surgeon who …. I don’t think anyone has ever interviewed him, have they?”
“It’s just a big deal for Tiger to have come back from what he had to go through and I just don’t think people have really appreciated what he’s had to endure but then it just shows he’s gritty, he’s determined and they have always been some of his best qualities.”
“For anyone involved in golf, and whether you are a player or in the media, it was just great for our game in general and such a great day in Tiger winning another Masters.”
This week, McIlroy returns to competition for the first time since his T21st Masters result at the Wells Fargo Championship, an event he’s won twice in his career, and with the distinction of turning 30 on day three of the tournament.
McIlroy was two days shy of his 21st birthday in posting a blistering final day 62 to win what was his maiden PGA Tour title in 2010, and then again at 26 when he secured a second Wells Fargo victory in 2015.
“It’s funny turning 30 as I played in a practice round with Sam Sanders on Tuesday and he’s aged 31 but he’s got two kids, one who is 10 and the other five.”
“Look, I’m not quite at that stage just yet but this lifestyle does make you grow-up quickly as I don’t feel 30, and I feel like still one of the younger guys but in my mind I’m not 30.”
“It’s all very weird. I don’t know what age I really am. I was here when I was aged 20 winning at Quail Hollow but that doesn’t feel like 10-years ago.”
“It’s just all weird as I do feel older in my mind but not 30 years old in body.”
What is very real though that in turning 30, McIlroy is only the third player, after Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, to have won four majors and 15 times on the PGA Tour.