McIlroy takes aim at LIV Golf defectors ahead of U.S. Open
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Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy were seen casually joking on the driving range at Adare Manor ahead of the JP McManus Pro-Am. The duo will be hoping to find form before the fourth major of the year tees off in the Open at St Andrews next week.
Woods underwent extensive rehabilitation since suffering horrific leg injuries in the Los Angeles car crash of February 2021, just two months on from undergoing further surgery on his back injury which has plagued the legend for years. He suffered comminuted open fractures to both the tibia and fibula in his right leg after losing control of his vehicle.
The 46-year-old spent three weeks receiving medical attention and even reportedly faced potential amputation – but he made a sensational return at The Masters in April, where he ended a 12-year drought by winning his 15th major at Augusta in 2019. Woods’ celebrated and highly-anticipated return at the 2022 Masters was befitting of the iconic event, and the American even finished the first round in the top 10, making the cut as he went on to finish a respectable 47th place.
Woods was forced to retire from the PGA Championship after making the cut due to health issues. It was the first time the legendary sportsperson withdrew from a major in his professional career.
Last week, the 46-year-old arrived in style at Adare Manor via helicopter along with long-term girlfriend Erica Herman. Woods is set to play in the star-studded event as he aims to find form before the 150th Open at St Andrews.
The 15-time major champion was seen wearing special shoes to aid him after Woods admitted his range of motion is limited following necessary surgery after his car crash in February 2021. On the driving range, Woods was seen joking with McIlroy as the Northern Irishman tested the American’s driver.
“Too much loft with you?” Woods asked. McIlroy thought about his answer and said: “A little…yeah.”
The JP McManus Pro-Am will see 10 of the world’s top 11 golfers flock to Adare Manor, where the event has been held since 2005. The venue will host the 2027 Ryder Cup.
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Woods was also seen having a conversation on the range with Leona Maguire, who became the first Irish woman to win on the LPGA Tour earlier in the season. The golf icon will have his long-time friend Rob McNamara on carrying duties for the JP McManus Pro-Am.
Woods was set to play in the US Open, but he withdrew from the third major of the year to focus on recovery from his crash. After withdrawing from the US Open, Woods tweeted: “I previously informed the USGA that I will not be competing in the @usopengolf as my body needs more time to get stronger for major championship golf.
“I do hope and plan to be ready to play in Ireland at @JPProAm and at @TheOpen next month. I’m excited to get back out there soon!”
Woods is undoubtedly desperate to return to St Andrews as he has won the most prestigious title in golf on two occasions. His first win came in 2000 at the Fife course, and he returned to glory six years later to claim the second of three Claret Jugs the American has won.
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