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Rory McIlroy has detailed how both he and Tiger Woods contracted COVID-19 just days before The 150th Open at St Andrews.

In an interview with the Sunday Independent, the world No.1 explained how he started show symptoms of having the virus on the morning of Thursday, July 7, before Woods began to feel unwell later that night.

Both men had participated in the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor earlier that week and went on to play in the Open a week later, Woods missing the cut and McIlroy finishing third.

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“Tiger needed a rest on Wednesday,” said McIlroy in the interview with Paul Kimmage. “We had played two days of golf at Adare and the plan was to play Ballybunion on Thursday. I woke up that morning feeling a bit achy but didn’t really think anything of it.

“JP gave us his chopper and we went down with Sean [O’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 [his 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 OK.’ 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.”

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McIlroy said that the virus prompted him to quarantine at Adare Manor, forcing him to delay his arrival in St Andrews.

“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.’”

He added that he had no sense of smell throughout the Open, saying that “everything smelled like vinegar”.

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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