Tiger Woods, at 43-years-old, is most certainly sees himself as an elder statesman on the modern PGA Tour.
Despite being the No. 13-ranked player in the world, Woods is never slow to bemoan his aging body and receding hairline. And following a middle-of-the-pack T30 finish at The Players Championship, Woods, like the rest of the golf world, caught the impressive back-nine charge Rory McIlroy put together to win his first Players Championship.
As PGA Tour cameras followed McIlroy through the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse, McIlroy told PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan that Tiger was one of the first people to send a congratulatory text message.
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“The second (text) I got from Tiger,” McIlroy told Monahan. “‘Good playing kid. Just awesome stuff.'”
“Kid?” Monahan questioned with a laugh.
McIlroy is almost 30 years old, but when he burst on the scene over a decade ago, he most definitely was a kid — and remains so — to those he competed against when he was the bouncing, freckle-faced 18-year-old from Northern Ireland.
Tiger wasn’t the only one to send congrats McIlroy’s way. He announced that only a few minutes after the victory, he had already received 86 text messages and even more congratulations on social media.
9 years ago this month had opportunity to sit w/ winless 20-yr-old @McIlroyRory & talk “patience.” Soon after, he shot a Sunday 62 at @QuailHollow for 1st @PGATOUR win. Today Rory showed great discipline & patience down stretch to win @THEPLAYERSChamp! Very proud & happy for him!
— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) March 17, 2019
Many congratulations on your @PGATOUR @THEPLAYERSChamp victory @McIlroyRory. What an exceptional display of attitude, talent and determination with a tight leaderboard all week. We are all so thrilled for you! Now The Masters. My very best. GP pic.twitter.com/61YKfQKCkr
— Gary Player (@garyplayer) March 18, 2019
Congrats to @McIlroyRory on a great win… silenced a lot of people today! Way to play bro ??
— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) March 17, 2019
— Francesco Molinari (@F_Molinari) March 17, 2019
Home finally and relaxed after a great week @THEPLAYERSChamp. Firstly a massive congratulations to @McIlroyRory a very well deserved win! I also wanted to say a very big thank you to my fans out there, your support really is the best! Hoping to make you all proud with a W soon ??
— Tommy Fleetwood (@TommyFleetwood1) March 18, 2019