There’s no doubting the impact — both figuratively and literally — Tiger Woods’ return to competitive golf has made.
Despite a sloppy performance that resulted in a missed cut for Woods, his playing partner on Thursday and Friday, Rory McIlroy, said that the 14-time major champion is at a competitive disadvantage to the rest of the field as a result of the fanfare he commands when he arrives at the course.
McIlroy went as far to say that Woods is losing a half shot per round, or two shots per tournament, to the rest of the field because of the antics and hoopla that surrounds him.
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) February 17, 2018
After getting an up-close-and-personal look at the organized chaos that follows Tiger Woods around a golf course, Rory McIlroy believes the 14-time major champ may be playing at a disadvantage these days.
McIlroy and Woods were grouped together for the first two rounds at the Genesis Open, during which McIlroy moved into contention while Woods faded to a missed cut. With well-hydrated fans still screaming his name from various corners of the Riviera Country Club clubhouse, McIlroy told reporters that the buzzing galleries ultimately have a negative impact on Woods’ score.
“I swear, playing in front of all that, he gives up half a shot a day on the field,” McIlroy said. “Like, it’s two shots a tournament he has to give to the field because of all that that goes on around.”
Crowds will always follow Woods on the course, but they were especially full-throated during Friday’s afternoon round at Riviera that was pushed back 20 minutes because of slow play and ended only a few minutes before sunset.
“Just the whole thing. You’ve got a 6-foot putt and guys say, ‘It doesn’t break as much as you think.’ Just stuff like this that they don’t have to say,” McIlroy said. “You know, whoever’s teeing off at 8:30 in the morning doesn’t get that and can just go about his business and just do his thing. That’s tough. He has to deal with that every single time he goes out to play.”
After walking stride for stride with Woods, Justin Thomas and a few thousand of their closest friends for 36 holes, McIlroy had nothing but sympathy for Woods’ plight which likely won’t get much easier next week at PGA National.
“It’s tiring,” McIlroy said. “I need a couple Advil just to – I’ve got a headache after all that.”
Keep yourself up-to-date with the latest goings-on in the world of golf by following the SwingxSwing Clubhouse on social media. We share stories, stats and breaking news on Twitter, keep the fun going off the course on Instagram and share any and all golf-related topics on Facebook.
Never be the odd golfer out when your friends are talking about the latest or funniest happenings in golf. Sign up for the SxS newsletter today!