It’s hard to find a bigger fan favorite at the 150th Open Championship than Rory McIlroy. But when Tiger Woods passed the 18th hole on the Old Course, perhaps for the last time, all eyes were on the three-time winner Claret Jug.
While Tiger was making an emotional transition on the 18th fairway, McIlroy was on the first hole of the 2nd round.
The 33-year-old Irishman literally gave the Tiger a head start when they crossed on parallel holes.
Tiger dropped out of the open championship after making 9 overs in the first two days of the tournament.
“I’ve been very close with Tiger over the last few years, especially since the accident, and I think we’ve all kind of rallied around him,” McIlroy said after his Friday round, according to the Irish Mirror. “We all want to see him well.
“As a child, he was our hero, and we want him to still participate in competitions. It’s obviously been a tough week for him, but we’re all for him. We all reach out to him. I hope he will come back here in the next four or five years and take part in another open championship on the old field.”
Tiger hopes to return for future Open championship appearances, but admitted it was probably his last game of competitive golf at St Andrews – one of his favorite golf courses in the world.
McIlroy is still hopeful that Tiger will be able to return to the old course.
“Hopefully The Open will come back here in four or five years and he will appreciate once again how good he has been throughout his career and how good he has been on The Old Course,” McIlroy said. — He got better at it. This is not the way to bow.”
McIlroy is currently two shots behind the lead with a score of 12 under in the tournament.