Rory McIlroy Says He Gave Tiger Woods COVID Ahead Of The Open At St. Andrews

Tiger Woods missed the cut at The Open at St. Andrews earlier this year and Rory McIlroy may have inadvertently played a role in Woods' disappointing tournament. Both players contracted COVID ahead of The Open, and McIlroy is blaming himself for Woods getting the virus.

McIlroy recently spoke with The Independent and explained the unique and unfortunate situation.

The two shared a helicopter together to play a friendly round at Ballybunion about a week prior to The Open. McIlroy said he woke up achy that morning, but didn't think anything of it. After flying back and having lunch together, McIlroy said he started feeling "sore, stiff, and super tired."

Then, the fever set in. Hours later, Woods texted McIlroy explaining he was starting to have symptoms as well.

"I said to Erica (McIlroy's wife), '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---ing hell, I've just given Tiger COVID! This is horrendous!' (McIlroy laughed, the story said) So we both had COVID going into The Open."

Woods would never use having COVID as an excuse, but it undoubtedly affected his build-up to The Open in some fashion.

The big cat was nine-over after 36 holes and missed the cut in what was likely his last Open Championship at St. Andrews.

McIlroy ultimately finished third that week as he wasn't able to keep pace with Cam Smith and Cameron Young, who finished first and second, respectively.

Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris

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Mark covers all sports at OutKick while keeping a close eye on the PGA Tour, LIV Golf, and all other happenings in the world of golf. He graduated from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga before earning his master's degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee. He somehow survived living in Knoxville despite ‘Rocky Top’ being his least favorite song ever written. Before joining OutKick, he wrote for various outlets including SB Nation, The Spun, and BroBible. Mark was also a writer for the Chicago Cubs Double-A affiliate in 2016 when the team won the World Series. He's still waiting for his championship ring to arrive. Follow him on Twitter @itismarkharris.