Though both would likely never use it, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods might have an excuse for why they didn't win The Open earlier this year.
In an interview with The Independent that was published Sunday, McIlroy revealed that he and Woods contracted COVID-19 just ahead of the 150th Open at St. Andrews.
"Tiger needed a rest on Wednesday. We had played two days of golf at Adare [Manor] 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," McIlroy said. "JP [McManus] 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 (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 then laughed, the story said) So we both had COVID going into The Open."
McIlroy did not say if either he or Woods were ever tested for COVID-19.
Despite their pre-tournament illness, it was a memorable week for both, though they didn't post the results they hoped for.
Woods, a 15-time major winner, missed the cut. However, an iconic moment happened when the 46-year-old crossed Swilcan Bridge in Round 2 to a grand ovation with many wondering if this would be Woods' last Open Championship at the Old Course.
Meanwhile, McIlroy nearly ended his eight-year major championship winless drought. The Northern Irishman held the 54-hole lead, but finished T-3.
McIlroy and Woods will be close in proximity again in December when they team up against Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in The Match.