Can Tiger Woods win The Open this week? Rory McIlroy certainly thinks so.
Three-time ‘Champion Golfer of the Year’ Woods will make his fifth appearance a St Andrews Open this week, having won around the Old Course twice before.
And despite him being in the twilight of his career and debilitated by a succession of injuries, McIlroy still believes that the former world No.1 is capable of lifting the Claret Jug again.
“I think the way the golf course is and the way the conditions are, I could certainly see it," said the Northern Irishman. "It's going to be a game of chess this week, and no-one's been better at playing that sort of chess game on a golf course than Tiger over the last 20 years."
McIlroy had Woods for company in the four-hole 'Celebration of Champions' event on Monday evening and was pleasantly surprised by his condition.
"For those four holes, he was moving better than I'd seen him move in a while," he added. "That was really good to see. Hitting the golf ball and swinging the club aren't the issue. It's the walking part of it that's the struggle.
"But he seemed to be moving well. Everything looked pretty good yesterday, so that's encouraging."
McIlroy also endorsed the R&A’s decision not to invite Greg Norman to be part of this week’s milestone major.
The two-time former winner has been asked to stay away on account of his leadership of the controversial LIV Golf enterprise.
Norman branded the move “petty” and “disappointing” but McIlroy – one of the most outspoken critics of LIV Golf – gave it his full backing.
“It's The 150th Open Championship, and that's what we need to focus on. I think the focus would have been taken away a little bit if he'd have been here.
"I supported that decision, and I think right now, because of everything that's happening in the golf world, I think it was the right decision to be made. If things change in the future, or whatever happens, who knows, I could see a day where he's certainly welcome back.
"But right now, just with everything going on, we want the focus to be on The 150th Open Championship and this being a celebration of a wonderful golf tournament and a wonderful game in general, and I think it was the right decision for that."