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When Rory McIlroy started playing golf as a kid in Northern Ireland, he idolized Tiger Woods and worshiped the Irish fairways Woods had walked on.
Now Woods is less McIlroy’s hero and more his annoying friend who texts him at odd hours and wakes him up in the middle of the night.
In a wide-ranging interview with the Irish Independent over the weekend, McIlroy said that in recent years he and Woods have become close friends and competitors.
Oftentimes, this has meant McIlroy and his fiancee, Erica, have been woken up in the middle of the night because Woods has texted McIlroy from the gym.
From the Independent:
“I’m drawn to him, yeah. He’s an intriguing character because you could spend two hours in his company and see four different sides to him. When he’s comfortable and he trusts you – and his trust (sensitivity) is way (higher) than mine – he’s great. He’s thoughtful. He’s smart. He reads. He can’t sleep so that’s all he does – he reads stuff and educates himself on everything. But he struggles to sleep, which I think is an effect of overtraining, so I tell him to calm down sometimes. He’d be texting me at four o’clock in the morning: ‘Up lifting. What are you doing?'”
This surely can’t thrill McIlroy, but it especially bothers Erica.
“Erica actually got pissed off with it,” McIlroy said. “He was texting me in the middle of the night and I was like, ‘Tiger is in the gym.'”
It’s not surprising that Woods would be drawn to McIlroy. The two are similarly competitive and have similar games. (McIlroy, of course, built his on Woods in his prime.)
Woods sat out last season to recover from multiple back surgeries, and he spoke regularly about missing the fraternity among PGA Tour players. He lamented not being able to compete to win tournaments, yes, but he also said he missed spending time with other golfers at various events shooting the breeze on the range, in the clubhouse, at dinner, and on the course.
The closest Woods could get to that, apparently, was texting McIlroy in the middle of the night.