After winning three consecutive starts and re-ascending to World No. 1, Rory McIlroy undoubtedly has more fans in his galleries these days. Among them Friday at The Barclays was the world’s ninth-ranked tennis player, Andy Murray.
Murray, who is in the New York area for next week’s U.S. Open Tennis Championships, is a friend of McIlroy’s. The two met at Wimbledon in 2011, shortly after McIlroy won his first major championship, the U.S. Open at Congressional.
Murray was an avid golfer when he was younger and still watches golf regularly. Friday, however, was the first time he’d been to a PGA TOUR event or watched professionals play in person. He was particularly blown away by the distance McIlroy and playing partner Bubba Watson hit the ball off the tee.
“These guys are just playing a different game than everybody else out here,” he said after McIlroy and Watson hit two 300-yarders straight up the hill at the par-4 seventh. “You just don’t realize it until you see it.”
The trip to Ridgewood Country Club was set up earlier this week over dinner.
“He’s such a great guy,” McIlroy said. “I ran into his coach Danny on Monday and so we all caught up Tuesday night. I found out he had never been to a tournament and suggested he come out this week.”
It was a good day to watch. After a shaky 74 to start the tournament, McIlroy bounced back with a 65 on Friday.
See photos of Murray's visit in the gallery below: