Rory McIlroy is back and ready to play since suffering a rib injury in January. During his WGC-Mexico media session though, a lot of the focus was on something totally unrelated – lunch with Tiger woods. McIlroy was gracious enough to shed some light on how Woods is doing:
I’ve always said golf is way better with Tiger Woods and Tiger Woods playing well. Unfortunately, his body isn’t allowing him to do that. I caught up with him. I had lunch with him last week. Just the two of us sat down. I think the good thing is mentally he’s in a good place.
He’s got other things in his life that he’s interested in and it’s not as if it’s just golf. He’s got other things and that’s great. He’s struggled with his body over the past couple years and it’s unfortunate because it just won’t allow him to do what he wants to do. It’s tough, but I know that he’s working hard to try and get back. Again, with your body and with injuries, it just takes time.”
What McIlroy would not commit to, understandably so, was whether Woods is likely to return to action for the Masters. He said, “Possibly. These next few weeks will probably tell.” He added:
However long it is that it takes him to be healthy enough to get out here and play, even if he plays eight to 10 times a year, that’s a bonus for all of us. It’s a bonus for him, it’s a bonus for us, it’s a bonus for golf in general just to have him involved, show up, play the majors, play some of the other events that he likes and that he feels that he can compete at and I think golf is obviously better with him involved.”
As for McIlroy, he’s got his own health concerns to worry about. He acknowledged as much, saying, “My biggest concern has been getting healthy and getting back here. My focus was on trying to get ready for this event. It’s nice I get to play four rounds.”
Even though he hasn’t played in a while, McIlroy actually has a shot at taking over the No. 1 world ranking away from Dustin Johnson if he wins the WGC-Mexico and Johnson finishes fifth or worse. However, it does not seem to be a be-all, end-all priority to him:
For a lot of guys, it’s an ego thing. It’s nice to be in that position. It’s not as if I earn more money because I’m No. 1. It’s nice to be able to say you’re the best in the world at what you do. The world rankings are a byproduct of how you play week in and week out.”
If McIlroy does take over No. 1 again and hold it for three weeks, he will become third all-time in total weeks atop the rankings.
h/t: espn.com, cbssports.com