The wearing of a red shirt on Sunday’s has been Tiger Woods’ brand since he turned pro in late 1996.
But after wearing a white shirt to complete his third round on Sunday morning, McIlroy returned to the Ocean Course wearing a bright read Oakley shirt, immediately drawing interest in his attire.
McIlroy revealed how close he came to changing shirts, if he found himself grouped with Woods for the final 18 holes. “I thought if I was playing with him (Woods), I wouldn’t wear it,” revealed McIlroy.
“Obviously him, you know who him is. Yeah, it was in the script that Oakley sent me at the start of the week. If I was going to be paired with him today, I wasn’t going to wear red. I remember what happened to Luke Donald in 2006 at Medinah.
“So I wasn’t playing with him and thought I would wear it. Might have to do it from now on; no wonder he wins so much,” he joked.
Woods had been one of the first to sing the praises of McIlroy after the former four-time PGA winning Woods finished with a 72 for a distant share of 11th place.
“He’s very good,” said Woods. “We all know the talent he has. He went through a little spell this year, and I think that was good for him. We all go through those spells in our careers, but he’s got all the talent in the world to do what he’s doing. And this is the way that Rory can play. When he gets it going, it’s pretty impressive to watch.”
And while pleased not to clash with Woods, McIlroy spoke of the influence of fellow PGA champion, Dave Stockton to his game.
It had been Stockton who sat down with McIlroy soon after his Masters meltdown, and it was the 1991 victorious USA Ryder Cup captain, who sat down with McIlroy last week in Akron where he finished fifth in the WGC — Bridgestone Invitational.
And Stockton again spent some time with McIlroy this week when he declared McIlroy to be the ‘oldest 23-year old he’s ever known’.
In singling out Stockton, McIlroy got right the historical significance of Congressional and Kiawah Island to the pair.
“Everywhere Dave’s done well, I seem to do well,” said McIlroy. “He’s won at Congressional and obviously as the Ryder Cup captain here. Anywhere he’s had success, I’ve had success, too, which has been pretty cool. We had a chat last week in Akron and he just said to me: ‘You know, just go out and play with a smile on your face. Enjoy it. This is what you’ve always wanted to do since you were a little boy. There’s no point in getting frustrated out there or getting upset. Just go out and enjoy it.’
“That’s the attitude I had for the last couple weeks, and it definitely helped.”