Sunday 22 April 2018

McIlroy seeks Woods' advice

Tiger Woods was among the first to learn of Rory McIlroy's ankle injury
Tiger Woods was among the first to learn of Rory McIlroy's ankle injury

Rory McIlroy has "picked the brains" of Tiger Woods over the ankle injury which has prevented him defending his Open Championship title.

McIlroy suffered a ruptured ankle ligament while playing football with friends last Saturday and told Woods about it the same day, although the world number one waited until Monday to release the news on Instagram.

"He sent me a photo the day he did it," Woods told after practising at the Old Course on Saturday. " We talked about it for a little bit. He said, 'You've been through a lot of injuries over the years.' So he picked my brain a little bit. We had a good talk.

"He's doing the right thing, taking care of his body first before he gets back out here. No doubt he's frustrated that he's not going to be able to play in the Open Championship, especially here at St Andrews, a nd how well he's been playing of late, and this golf course really does set up well for him, too.

"That's the way it goes. We all get injured at one point in time. Sometimes it's through the sport or sometimes it's through fun activities. You just never know."

Woods arrived in Scotland on Saturday morning and admitted he was surprised by the condition of the course where he won the 2000 Open by eight shots and the 2005 Open by five.

"I was shocked," Woods added. "I had seen photos of it a month ago. It was bone dry. It looked like it was going to be one of those dust bowls again; hard, fast, like the years I've played St Andrews. It's changed. They got big rain and a lot of sun. It's totally changed.

"We made ball marks on the greens. I don't ever remember making ball marks around this place."

Former world number one Woods is currently ranked 226th after a nightmare season which has featured career-worst scores on the PGA Tour and in the US Open and a best finish of tied 17th in the Masters.

However, the 14-time major winner did card three sub-par rounds to finish joint 32nd in the Greenbrier Classic in his last start, including a bogey-free closing 67.

"I feel good," the 39-year-old added: "Sunday at Greenbrier is probably the best I hit it in two years. That was fun. It sounds crazy when I told everyone at Greenbrier that I felt close, after the scores I shot at the Memorial (85) and the US Open (80).

"I put it together at Greenbrier and hit it really good. [Instructor] Chris [Como] told me it was the first time I led the field in proximity to the hole with my iron game."

Woods admitted he would never risk playing tennis or a proper game of basketball during the week of a tournament, but would practise his shooting.

" You can't live in a box," he added in USA Today. "I've skied a lot. I like adrenaline. I like feeling that rush. That's why I love spear fishing, free diving. It's so peaceful down there. But there is inherent risk in all of that. But you can't live in a box."

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