Class Act

British Open 2022: Rory McIlroy’s subtle hat tip was apparently part of what made Tiger Woods cry

On Friday morning, Tiger Woods—living legend, bionic man, three-time hoister of the Claret Jug—crossed the Swilcan Bridge for perhaps the final time. His hat held aloft, the gallery in rapturous applause, Woods breezed across the span without stopping and continued up the fairway, tears welling in his eyes. Woods later debunked theories that this would be his final Open, but he admitted it might be his last at the Old Course, which speaks somewhat to the emotion on display from one of the coldest golf assassins to ever do it.

But there was apparently something else that blew a little dust in Eldrick’s eye; something that you might have missed amidst all the hubbub. As Woods strode up the fairway, Rory McIlroy, who had just teed off at the first, stopped to watch the scene unfold. As Woods passed him, McIlroy reached up to his brim and gave Tiger a little hat tip of his own.

It was a nice gesture from McIlroy, who has risen to number one in the World Good Guy rankings in recent weeks, and according to Woods, the quiet acknowledgement from his peer was a big part of what sparked the waterworks in the first place.

Sheesh, these guys are plucking the heartstrings like Eddie Van Halen this week. Needless to say, we hope Woods is well enough to compete the next time the rota swings back to St. Andrews. Nothing turns back the clock like links golf, after all. If not, however, McIlroy should make for a more than fitting steward in Tiger's sted.