Rory McIlroy says visit to injured Tiger Woods gave him new focus on majors

  • Woods was seriously injured in February car accident
  • McIlroy says Woods’ playing priorities are a good example
Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot as Tiger Woods looks on during The Northern Trust golf tournament last year
Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot as Tiger Woods looks on during The Northern Trust golf tournament last year. Photograph: Mark Konezny/USA Today Sports
Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot as Tiger Woods looks on during The Northern Trust golf tournament last year. Photograph: Mark Konezny/USA Today Sports
at Augusta National

Last modified on Tue 6 Apr 2021 16.41 EDT

Rory McIlroy says a visit to the injured Tiger Woods will help him place extra emphasis on major championship weeks. McIlroy begins his latest tilt at the Masters having failed to win one of golf’s big four events since 2014.

While checking on the health of Woods, who was involved in a serious car accident in February, McIlroy was afforded a fresh outlook. He now insists circling major weeks on the calendar to be the way ahead.

“I went over to Tiger’s house a few weeks ago to see him and in his family room he’s got his trophy cabinet,” explained McIlroy. “It’s his 15 major trophies. I said, ‘That’s really cool. Where are all the [non-major trophies]?’ He said, ‘I don’t know.’ I go, ‘What?’ He said, ‘Yeah, my mom has some and a few are in the office and a few are wherever….’

“I was driving home and I was thinking, I mean; that’s all he cared about. All he cared about. So how easy must that have felt for him to win all the others? That was just always in my mind, he talked about [how] these are the four weeks that matter. So the weeks that didn’t matter, you know, he racked them up at a pretty fast clip.

“I was just thinking to myself, how easy must that have felt for him if all he cared about were four weeks a year. The other stuff must have been like practice. That’s a cool perspective to have.”

Woods, who suffered severe leg injuries in the California accident, is a notable absentee from Augusta National this week. McIlroy reported the 45-year-old to be in reasonable fettle.

“I spent a couple hours with him, which was nice,” McIlroy said. “It was good to see him. It was good to see him in decent spirits. When you hear of these things and you look at the car and you see the crash, you think he’s going to be in a hospital bed for six months. But he was actually doing better than that. A few of us that live down in south Florida went to see him. I’m sure he appreciates that. Everyone would love to see him back out here again. I think myself, JT, Rickie [Fowler], DJ, Brooks [Koepka], all those guys down there, we all have a responsibility to try to keep his spirits up and keep him going and try to get him back out here.

“I know he’d love to be here and I’m sure he’s going to put everything he has into trying to be ready to play here next year.”