‘McIlroy As Close I’ve Seen To Tiger’ – Dougherty

The player-turned-pundit is left in awe of McIlroy's abilities during a casual round in Florida

Sky Sports presenter Nick Dougherty at the 2022 Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nick Dougherty has revealed details of a round of golf he’s enjoyed with Rory McIlroy. The player-turned-Sky Sports presenter posted details of a round with McIlroy, the World No.5’s dad, Gerry, and his Sky Sports colleague Wayne Riley at Seminole Golf Club in Florida. Dougherty showed flashes of a considerable talent during his playing days, most notably during the 2007 US Open, where he led after the first round before eventually finishing tied for 7th. The 39-year-old Englishman also claimed three European Tour wins during a 15-year professional career, including the 2007 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

However, his achievements in the professional game weren’t enough to prevent him from being awestruck by McIlroy’s abilities during the round on Tuesday. Dougherty said: “Not all rounds of golf are equal. What a day out Radar and I had with @rorymcilroy and his dad Gerry at Seminole golf club. It was as much fun as I can remember having on the course and to watch Rory shoot the easiest 66 I’ve ever witnessed was a privilege. It’s really easy doing the job that I do now to forget how challenging the game can be when I spend my time watching players like Rory make it look so easy, so it was a great learning experience to get to play alongside him and see the gulf between golf as we all know it and golf how it is played at the pinnacle.”

Dougherty then said the occasion reminded him of playing with Tiger Woods at his peak, comparing McIlroy to the US legend. “I’ve been lucky enough to play with Tiger in his prime at a US Open where he was head and shoulders above the rest of us and as much as I am in no way the player I was then, I can still remember how that felt and yesterday was as close as I have seen to that level of excellence.”

McIlroy has made a solid start to 2022, with top 10 finishes at the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic and last week’s Genesis Invitational. Meanwhile, the 32-year-old has four Majors to his name and only needs The Masters to complete the Grand Slam. To help him achieve that, this week, he announced that he’ll compete in the Valero Texas Open the week before April’s event at Augusta to “play my way in” to the Masters. While McIlroy still has some way to go to catch up to Woods’ 15 Majors, with words of praise like Dougherty’s ringing in his ears, he’ll be confident of closing that gap this year.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.