The world's greatest golfer had just trudged off the 18th, beat and sore having shot a seven-over-par 78 which left him tied for 144th at the Open.
If the four-time major victor from Holywood was feeling the pressure, it's no wonder.
"I'll be there", Woods said.
"It was obviously a disappointing day", McIlroy said.
Rory McIlroy has help looking for his ball after hitting into the long rough near the green on the first hole. I played great that one tournament, had a win. "And hopefully I can peak a few more times this year". "Of course I feel uneasy", he said.
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When Brooks Koepka was growing up, Tiger Woods was on top of the golf world.
"Just the way it is", Woods said.
"The game plan's pretty concrete".
"I didn't do much out there", he admitted. "I just go out there and play".
Other leading names did not enjoy their opening rounds at the last major of the year. Defending champion Francesco Molinari is paired up Bryson DeChambeau and Adam Scott.
But while that round of 61 at the 2005 North of Ireland Championship was clearly a sign of the great things to come for the four-times major victor, the arrival of the Open at the course has a significance for McIlroy beyond personal nostalgia.
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The Open was first staged in 1860 and while a sub 30 score had been shot on the front nine many times since then, nobody had done it coming home. That chip landed about six feet from the pin, and he two-putted from there.
By the time he trudged off the opening green, having made an ugly quadruple eight, the smattering of nearly apologetic applause told its own story. I don't know. But I teed off in the Open and I shot 90 today. "I showed some resilience in the middle of the round and was trying to fight back into the championship but then I finished off poorly as well", he said. More birdies came at the par-3 third and the tough fifth that runs out toward the North Atlantic.
"You've got to be spot on".
"I'm just not moving as well as I'd like". It's only his second quadruple-bogey in a major (he had one on the 11th hole in the final round of the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion) and only the fourth in his PGA Tour career.
An A-list resort in attractive Andalucia, along with views of the magnificent mountain range, beach club, showstopping 50m long infinity pool (one of three), stunning 2,200sqm spa with an indoor heated salt water swimming pool and a Michelin star restaurant, the 18-hole championship golf course is one of the finest in the country.
The 43-year-old American, who has battled a number of injuries in recent years, made no attempt to hide his fear that age was catching up with him.
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