Rory McIlroy revealed this week that he was sick, potentially with COVID-19, while playing at The British Open earlier this year.
He’s also pretty sure that he gave it to Tiger Woods at St. Andrews, too.
McIlroy, speaking with the Sunday Independent, opened up about the story that he said led him to giving Woods COVID-19 just before the major championship — starting at the JP McManus Pro-Am the week before.
At that two-day event at Adare Manor in Ireland, McIlroy said, “everyone had COVID.”
"Tiger needed a rest on Wednesday. We had played two days of golf at Adare, and the plan was to play Ballybunion on Thursday," McIlroy said. "I woke up that morning feeling a bit achy but didn't really think anything of it. JP [McManus] gave us his chopper, and we went down with [my manager Sean O'Flaherty] and Tiger's manager, Rob [McNamara]. We got around fine, flew back to Adare for lunch and as I'm getting up from the table, I'm sore and stiff and super tired.
“I said to [my wife] Erica, 'I'm feeling a bit weird. I'm just going upstairs to lie down for a bit.' I slept for maybe two hours and the sweat was just pouring off me, then Erica took my temperature and it was sky high. I rang Tiger: 'I'm not feeling so good here.' And he goes, 'Oh, I feel OK.' But he texted me at 10 o'clock that night, chills, fever, and I'm like, 'F***ing hell, I've just given Tiger COVID! This is horrendous!' So we both had COVID going into The Open."
To be clear, McIlroy never said he actually tested positive for COVID-19. Woods hasn’t commented on that either.
Woods, however, looked very sick in his final round at St. Andrews that Friday. He failed to miss the cut at the event, which was his last official time out on the PGA Tour.
McIlroy, though, said he wasn’t able to actually taste anything that entire week — which is a common symptom of COVID-19.
"On Tuesday night I went to the Champions Dinner and it was lovely. I was sitting there drinking water and they poured a glass of wine, a lovely 2005 Bordeaux, and I was like, 'Ahh, I'll just have a little sip,' but I couldn't taste it," McIlroy said. "The whole week of The Open I didn't have any taste, and everything smelled like vinegar to me. Everything. It was really strange."
Despite being sick, McIlroy finished third at The British Open. He finished last season with a win at the Tour Championship, which officially gave him his third career FedExCup. He already has a win this season — his 23rd on Tour — retook the top spot in the Official World Golf Rankings, and won the DP World Tour’s season-long title, too.
It’s unclear when Woods will compete on Tour again. He will play at both The Match and at the PNC Championship with his son, Charlie, later this month. Woods was supposed to compete at the Hero World Challenge this week, but he withdrew on Monday with a foot injury.