Rory McIlroy: Tiger 'Exceeded Everyone's Expectations' in Return

Thursday December 8th, 2016
Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods shake hands on the 18th green during the final round of the 2015 Masters.
Ross Kinnaird

Rory McIlroy is thrilled to see his boyhood idol back on the course.

McIlroy watched the 14-time major winner's return to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge last week, and was happy to see a 'comfortable, happy' Woods on the course. McIlroy spoke to reporters at the Excellence in Sport Awards in Dublin Monday, where he accepted the Sportsperson of the Year Award.

"I think he exceeded everyone's expectations, not sure if he exceeded his own, but he definitely made some great swings," the 2016 FedEx Cup champion said. "He looked comfortable, he looked happy which I thought was the most interesting thing. He looked happy to be out there, which we probably haven't seen in a while."

McIlroy noted that before Woods went on an almost 16-month long hiatus, a furrowed brow and intense concentration was Woods' norm. Now, McIlroy is seeing someone who is relaxed and 'in a better place' to play golf, someone who he is convinced can contend in and win majors.

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods shake hands on the 18th green during the final round of the 2015 Masters.
Ross Kinnaird

"It was great," McIlroy said of watching Tiger play. "The excitement levels are huge any time he tees it up, whenever Tiger plays."

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