(AP) McIlroy texts with Tiger after losing top ranking
By CHRIS DUNCAN
AP Sports Writer
Rory McIlroy sent a text message to Tiger Woods on Tuesday, congratulating him on winning at Bay Hill and taking over the No. 1 world ranking again.
Woods responded by telling McIlroy to get going–he put it a bit more crudely than that–and win this week’s Houston Open. A victory would put McIlroy back at No. 1, a spot he held for 32 weeks before Woods’ latest win.
For now, McIlroy is fine with Woods holding the world’s top ranking, especially with the Masters coming up in two weeks.
McIlroy skipped Bay Hill and says he had a “good week, a fun week” in Miami. He watched girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki play in the pro tennis event in Key Biscayne, Fla., then stopped by a municipal course on Saturday night to hit range balls in relative anonymity with Wozniacki and Novak Djokovic, currently the world’s No. 1 tennis player.
McIlroy won four times in 2012, including the PGA Championship that catapulted him to No. 1. He signed a Nike contract in the offseason, but has gotten off to a rough start this year, raising questions about his adjustment to his new equipment.
He missed the cut at Abu Dhabi, lost in the first round of the Match Play Championship and then walked off the course during the second round of the Honda Classic, citing frustration. He finally saw signs of progress when he shot a 65 in the final round at Doral and tied for eighth, and he’s confident that he’s ready to contend at Redstone this week.
Maybe McIlroy can learn from Woods as he tries to dig out of his early-season slump. Woods has won three times in five starts this year, looking as dominant as ever after going through injuries, personal turmoil and a swing change.
McIlroy said he’s seeing more good shots since the last round at Doral, his lowest of the season.
When he’s done in Houston, McIlroy will fly to Haiti, where he’ll meet with families affected by the 2010 earthquake there. He also made a trip to Haiti before going to the U.S. Open in 2011, and won his first major at Congressional with a record score.
McIlroy is an Ireland ambassador to UNICEF and has geared his own charity work toward children.