ATLANTA – On Wednesday at the Tour Championship Rory McIlroy made an honest, and most would say accurate, assessment of where Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are in their careers when asked about a possible changing of the guard.
“They’re just getting older,” McIlroy said. “Phil’s 43 (Lefty is 44) and Tiger’s nearly 40 (he will be 39 in December). So they’re getting into the sort of last few holes of their career, and that’s what happens.”
Despite going on to explain that Mickelson appeared to be rounding into form late in the season and that Woods has been sidelined by injury this season, the world No. 1 was criticized in some social media circles for his take.
“I answered a question honestly and openly and, hey, it's just one person's view,” McIlroy explained on Day 2 at the Tour Championship.
As far as McIlroy’s PGA Tour contemporaries, most agreed with the Northern Irishman’s assessment and warned that continued scrutiny could force him to start being less open with the media.
“I know exactly what Rory said and how it was taken,” Rickie Fowler said. “We all know Tiger and Phil aren't young little pups anymore. It was all just kind of taken out of context and the whole story that Rory was telling was right on point. It's just unfortunate that some stuff is taken out of context and that it can make you a little hesitant about what you say up here sometimes.”