Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods have combined to win 18 major titles, and a mutual sponsorship by Nike has brought the two together often in recent years. But despite all of Woods' on-course accolades, McIlroy has no interest in swapping places.
McIlroy described himself as "one of the biggest Tiger fans you will ever come across" in a wide-ranging interview with The Independent's Paul Kimmage. But he also scratched his head over Woods' private life that for years left him with few options outside of the public spotlight.
"I've seen it first-hand. I've seen what his life is like in Florida," McIlroy said. "I've played golf with him and said, 'What are you doing tonight? Do you want to come and have dinner with us?' And he can't. And for me that's unfathomable. I could not live like that."
Woods spent nearly all of last year recovering from a back injury, returning at the Hero World Challenge in December. Having turned 41 last month, he recently outlined an early-season schedule that will include four starts in five weeks beginning later this month.
McIlroy also shared that he often receives early-morning texts from Woods, who McIlroy said sometimes hits the gym as early as 4 a.m. to combat insomnia. It all adds up to a lifestyle that McIlroy, who is set to marry fiancee Erica Stoll this spring, can't envision for himself.
"If someone was to say, 'You can have 14 majors and 70 wins but have to deal with that, or nine majors and 40 wins and stay somewhat the same as you are,' I'd take the second option all day," McIlroy said.