Rory McIlroy lunches with Tiger: ‘Mentally, he’s in a good place’

March 1, 2017

It was a busy week for Rory McIlroy ahead of his return to golf following a rib injury earlier this year. On McIlroy’s schedule? A round with President Donald Trump, a round with World No. 1 Dustin Johnson and lunch with 14-time major winner Tiger Woods.

McIlroy didn’t say whether or not Woods would be back in playing form soon, but did say Woods was in “good spirits.” Woods didn’t play in both the Genesis Open and Honda Classic after being plagued by back spasms at the European Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic.

“I think the good thing is mentally he’s in a good place,” McIlroy said ahead of this week’s WGC-Mexico Championship. “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.”

Woods has busied himself with rebranding his course design firm and foundation, TGR, over the last few months. After his much-heralded return to professional golf at December’s Hero World Challenge, it’s been touch and go for the 41-year-old, who was ordered by his doctor to rest after his back spasms.

McIlroy didn’t let on when he thought Woods would be back, but hopes it will be soon.

“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,” he said. “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. I think golf is obviously better with him involved.”