Rory McIlroy doesn't think Tiger Woods will play golf again but 'everyone should be grateful he's alive'February 26, 2021
RORY McILROY does not believe Tiger Woods will play competitive golf again – but says that is not important when he could easily have lost his life.
The four-time Major champion was stunned by pictures of the wreck Woods had to be cut out of, after crashing and turning his car over several times in Los Angeles.
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McIlroy said it was hard to believe he had not suffered far worse injuries than the leg and ankle fractures that surgeons had to knit back together by inserting a metal rod, screws and pins.
Asked if he thought Woods could play again at the top level, McIlroy insisted that question was irrelevant.
He commented: “He's not Superman. He's a human being at the end of the day. And he's already been through so much.
“At this stage I think everyone should just be grateful that he's here, that he's alive, that his kids haven't lost their dad. That's the most important thing.
"Golf is so far from the equation right now, it's not even on the map at this point.
“I mean, he's here, he's fine. He's got some pretty bad injuries, but he's going to be OK.
"I was looking at some of the coverage yesterday, and they were talking as if he was gone.
“It's like, he was in a car crash. It was really bad. He's very fortunate to be here, which is great.”
McIlroy said only the people closest to Woods appreciated just how much pain he had gone through after having his two discs in his back fused four years ago, to get to the stage where he was able to shock the golfing world by winning the 2019 Masters.
He added: “I had lunch with Tiger in March, April 2017, just after he had the fusion.
"To work his way from hardly being able to walk, to stand, to get his game back into shape, was incredible.
“He won the Masters two years later and I don't think people realise to this day the struggle and the things he had to deal with to get to that point – apart from maybe a few of us out here, JT, Rickie, Dustin and myself.
“Those are the guys that are in Florida that have gotten a little bit closer to him.
"Look, I don't want to take anything away from what Ben Hogan did after his car crash, or any of the other comebacks that athletes have had in other sports.
“But right now I can't think of any greater comeback in sports than the journey that he made from that lunch we had in 2017 to winning the Masters a couple years later.”
McIlroy laughed off a suggestion the players in action at the Workday Championship, which gets under way in Florida, should pay some sort of tribute to Tiger.
He added: “You say ‘pay tribute to him’ – but he's not gone.
“He's been in a very bad accident, and we're very lucky that he's still here.
"I feel like we should pay tribute to him every day for being on the PGA Tour and what he's done for golf
“It's always great when he plays at a tournament, or is out here because it gives it an extra dimension.
"But I think we’re all aware that we’re sort of heading towards that day that Tiger wasn't going to be a part of the tournament.
“I'm not saying that that was soon. But it's inevitable that one day he won't be a part of it.
"That's going to be just something that the game of golf and the Tour is going to have to deal with, and adapt to.
“Hopefully he comes back and is able to play.
"But if he's not, I think he'll still be a part of the game in some way, whether it's obviously his design business and his foundation and hosting golf tournaments.
“We might be seeing the end of the genius at work with a club in his hand, but there's still a lot of other ways that he can affect the game in a great way.”
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