Writer Paul Kimmage, over at the Sunday Independent, sat down with Rory McIlroy for a puffball interview.
In the PR-worthy piece, the double-vaccinated McIlroy admits he came down with COVID on the Thursday ahead of The Open week, and then supposedly passed on the virus to Tiger Woods.
“JP [McManus] gave us his chopper and we went down with Sean [Flaherty, McIlroy’s manager] 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 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 okay.’ But he texted me at 10 o’clock that night, chills, fever, and I’m like, ‘F*****g hell… I’ve just given Tiger Covid! This is horrendous!’ So we both had Covid going into the Open.”
Kimmage and McIlroy try to layout a heroic narrative where the Northern Irishman, despite not being able to taste a “lovely 2005 Bordeaux,” was able to get into position to choke away another major title.
Having passed the virus on to his hero, McIlroy then says he had no sense of taste for the entire week of The Open, admitting that “everything smelled like vinegar.” Not ideal when you’re chasing down your first major in eight years.
“I had planned to go to St Andrews early but ended up quarantining at Adare, and it probably took me until the Sunday to start feeling better,” he continued. “If it had happened last year, with everything that was going on in my game, I would have been in a panic, but I was in a good place and thought, ‘I’ll be fine’.
“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.
“The whole week of the Open I didn’t have any taste, and everything smelled like vinegar to me. Everything. It was really strange.”
What’s also very strange is that we are just finding this out now.
How were Woods and McIlroy even allowed to participate in the pre-game festivities? Did they keep it a secret? Did the R&A know about their medical conditions? Were other players informed?
On Tuesday of Open week both played in an exhibition with 82-year-old Lee Trevino. Did the Merry Mex even know he was playing with two COVID carriers?
Sure, for Woods and McIlroy it amounted to battling a flu bug, but for someone the age of Trevino, the COVID virus is far riskier.
McIlroy should be publicly shamed, fined and suspended from the PGA Tour and all majors for 2023. He needs to exit stage left.
Developing… More questions…