Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Woods warns McIlroy to watch his words

Tiger Woods watches his shot off the third tee during the third round of the Honda Classic (AP)

Tiger Woods has warned Rory McIlroy to think before he speaks after the Northern Irishman pulled out of the Honda Classic midway through his second round on Friday.

McIlroy claimed he was "in a bad place mentally" on a dramatic day in Palm Beach - then later released a statement to say a sore wisdom tooth was the reason for his early exit. It was McIlroy's first ever withdrawal from a tournament as a professional.

"He's just got to be more - just got to think about it a little bit more before you say something or do something," Woods told reporters. "It can get out of hand, especially when you get into social media and start tweeting and all those different things that can go wrong."

He added: "I've been through it for a long time, but also this is a slightly different era as well. It's even faster than what it was when I came out.

"Things are instantaneous around the world. We were still in fax machines, things were a little bit slower."

Graeme McDowell said he had noticed a difference in his friend McIlroy, telling pgatour.com: "His demeanour looks a little different. I felt like he was a little off with his golf swing on the range.

"There were a few moans and groans coming from the bay next to me. It's normally a display. It's normally a clinic. It's superlatives coming from the coach and the caddie. That's the sign of a guy who's lacking a little technique in his swing and a little belief in his game."

After walking off the course, McIlroy initially told reporters he was "in a bad place mentally'", according to ESPN.

But he later released a statement saying: "I sincerely apologise to the Honda Classic and PGA Tour for my sudden withdrawal. I have been suffering with a sore wisdom tooth, which is due to come out in the near future. It began bothering me again last night, so I relieved it with (painkiller) Advil.

"It was very painful again this morning (Friday), and I was simply unable to concentrate. It was really bothering me and had begun to affect my playing partners."

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