Rory McIlroy: Tiger Woods has mellowed as a person

Updated: Oct 31, 2019, 12:09 IST | AFP | Shanghai

World No. 2 Rory, who also shares the neigbourhood with USA's golf great Woods, hails his temperament that helped him conquer personal issues

America's Tiger Woods during his title-winning show at the Zozo Championships in Japan earlier this week. Pics/AFP
America's Tiger Woods during his title-winning show at the Zozo Championships in Japan earlier this week. Pics/AFP

Shanghai: Rory McIlroy said yesterday that Tiger Woods is reaping the benefits of a more "mellow" approach to life after the American secured a historic 82nd US PGA Tour win this week. Woods, 43, reached another milestone with victory on Monday at the Zozo Championship in Japan, equalling Sam Snead's 54-year-old record of Tour triumphs.

McIlroy, who finished tied third, said he had seen up close how Woods has changed as a person during a brilliant career punctuated by some high-profile personal problems. "He's opened up a lot in the last few years," the Northern Irishman and current World No. 2, said on the eve of the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai. "I'm in a fortunate position that I live quite close to him and we've been able to develop quite a good relationship. I've seen in the private moments who he is as a person and what a great dad he is, how seriously he takes that side of his life as well. It's been great to see."

Rory McIlroyRory McIlroy

That more open and approachable manner has been noted by Woods's fellow professionals, said McIlroy. "I think previously in his career he didn't take the camaraderie or the idea of being one of the guys as seriously as he does now as he transitions to this latter part of his career. He's definitely mellowed as a person and probably sees the bigger picture a little more than he used to.

He's been through a lot in terms of injuries and some of the breaks that he's had to take. Because he has opened up a little bit, people know what he's been through and are happy that he's got through the other side of it and is playing great again," said McIlroy, 30, going on to stress that a roaring Tiger can only be good for the sport of golf. "If Tiger's doing well, the game of golf in general thrives so it's good for everyone involved and I think we're happy for him," he said, referring to Woods's rivals on the course.

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