It’s difficult to get too deep into Tiger Woods’ conscious, as the man is notoriously private.
So thank goodness for Rory McIlroy.
In an extremely fascinating interview with the Irish Independent‘s Paul Kimmage – the first part of which can be read in full here – McIlroy delved into a number of interesting topics.
We covered his forthright, and still critical, remarks about the Olympics from the chat here.
But McIlroy also went in on Woods, and there was too much good material here not to share.
In a surprisingly candid chat about the 14-time major champion, McIlroy, 27, talks about how he first met Woods, 41, in 2004 and that he grew up a major fan of the man.
Since McIlroy has burst onto the golfing scene, he has gotten to know Woods well, and the two have become friends.
What’s it like to become close to a man who was your idol? For McIlroy, Woods has proven an even more fascinating person than he could have imagined.
“(Tiger’s) an intriguing character because you could spend two hours in his company and see four different sides to him,” McIlroy told Kimmage. “When he’s comfortable and he trusts you — and his trust (sensitivity) is way (higher) than mine — he’s great.”
Don’t take that to mean, though, that McIlroy wishes to emulate his idol in every way.
The downsides of Woods’ intense fame – constant scrutiny, hounding wherever he goes – are no secret. But it’s tough to really get just how debilitating it can be without a close look.
McIlroy has that intimate perspective, and, in an interesting moment in this chat, spills why he would never want to deal with Woods’ life.
“I’ve seen it first-hand. I’ve seen what his life is like in Florida. I’ve played golf with him and said: ‘What are you doing tonight? Do you want to come and have dinner with us?’ And he can’t,” McIlroy said. “He just can’t. And for me that’s unfathomable. I could not live like that.”
Not empty platitudes either. McIlroy specifies that he, a man driven to be the game’s top dog, would give up several majors if it meant avoiding living life like Woods.
“If someone was to say, ‘You can have 14 majors and 70 wins but have to deal with (what Tiger deals with), or nine majors and 40 wins and stay somewhat the same as you are,’ I’d take the second option all day.”
Honestly a statement we thought we’d never hear from the four-time major champion.
So many layers to peel from the McIlroy-Woods onion it seems. All in all, though, this interview reiterates that their relationship is a good one based on mutual respect and competitiveness.
Good, but not perfect. Woods is a notoriously light sleeper, a habit McIlroy theorizes is an effect of overtraining, and it has caused problems for the Northern Irishman.
Specifically with his fiancee Erica Stoll.
“I tell (Tiger) to calm down sometimes. He’d be texting me at four o’clock in the morning: ‘Up lifting. What are you doing?’ … Erica actually got pissed off with it. He was texting me in the middle of the night and I was like, ‘Tiger is in the gym.’ ”
McIlroy and Stoll will reportedly marry in April. So if Woods attends the wedding and makes a speech there, it looks like he won’t be lacking for material.