Woods Opens Up On 'Pretty Neat' Moment With Rory McIlroy

On an emotional day at the 150th Open Championship, Rory McIlroy showed a touching moment of respect to Tiger

Tiger waves to the crowd on the 18th
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Just after lunchtime on Friday 15th July, the golfing world all had a lump in its throat as Tiger Woods walked down the 18th hole at St Andrews in what could be his final ever appearance at the Old Course.

It was an incredibly poignant moment, with even Tiger showing a rare dose of emotion as the 15-time Major winner was seen wiping a tear from his eye as he walked up the iconic final hole at The Open.

Along with the huge reception from the crowd, Tiger also revealed that a small mark of respect from good friend, Rory McIlroy, stood out. As Tiger walked the 18th, Rory tipped his cap to arguably the greatest golfer the world has ever seen.

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"As I walked further along the fairway, I saw Rory right there. He gave me the tip of the cap. It was pretty cool -- the nods I was getting from guys as they were going out and I was coming in, just the respect, that was pretty neat," explained Woods following his second round 75.

"From a players' fraternity level, it's neat to see that and feel that. And then as I got into the shot -- or closer to the green, more into the hole, the ovation got louder and got -- you could feel the warmth and you could feel the people from both sides. Felt like the whole tournament was right there. 

"They all had appreciated what I've done here for the years I've played -- I've won two championships here -- my British Open success and all my times I've enjoyed here in Scotland and playing, I felt like it just came to a head right there as I was walking to my golf ball."

Following his show of respect to his hero and close friend, McIlroy went on to shoot a four-under-par round of 68, as he moved just three shots back of Cameron Smith going into the weekend.

After his round, the four-time Major winner was asked about the memorable moment on the 18th, as well as Tiger explaining that he may not feature at the Old Course again. Stating: "It would have been a cool moment if he was 8-under par instead of 8-over, whatever he was," the 33-year-old added "I just hope -- everyone hopes it's not the end of his Old Course career. I think he deserves, we deserve him to have another crack at it.

"Hopefully The Open's back here in four or five years' time and he does get another crack at it because with how good he's been throughout his career and how good he's been at The Old Course, I think that's not the way about him. He's got better in him."

McIlroy then went on to add: "I've gotten pretty close to Tiger over these last few years, and especially after the accident. I think we've all sort of rallied around him down there in Jupiter. And we all want to see him do well.

"He was all our hero growing up, even though I'm maybe a touch older than some of the other guys. But we want to see him do well. We want to see him still out there competing and this week was obviously a tough week for him. But we're all behind him. We're all pulling for him. And hopefully he's -- again, as I said, hopefully he's back here in the next four, five years and playing in another Open Championship on The Old Course."

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x