'Tiger would text me from the gym at 4am' - McIlroy opens up on Woods friendship

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Rory McIlroy has spoken of the closeness of his friendship with Tiger Woods, revealing that the 14-time major winner would text him from the gym at 4am.

McIlroy and Woods have made no secret of their admiration for each other in the past, and the duo have worked on advertisements together in their roles as Nike athletes.

In a lengthy exclusive interview with Irish newspaper The Sunday Independent, McIlroy described himself as "probably one of the biggest Tiger fans you will ever come across", before discussing the time he has spent with golf's biggest name.

"I'm drawn to him," explained McIlroy. "He's an intriguing character because you could spend two hours in his company and see four different sides to him.

"When he's comfortable and he trusts you - and his trust [sensitivity] is way [higher] than mine - he's great. He's thoughtful. He's smart. He reads - he can't sleep so that's all he does. He reads stuff and educates himself on everything.

"But he struggles to sleep, which I think is an effect of over-training, so I tell him to calm down sometimes. He'd be texting me at four o'clock in the morning: 'Up lifting. What are you doing?'

"Erica [McIlroy's fiancee] actually got p***** off with it. He was texting me in the middle of the night and I was like, 'Tiger is in the gym'."

McIlroy said he would not wish to come under the same level of scrutiny that Woods faces.

He said: "I've seen what his life is like in Florida. I've played golf with him and said: 'What are you doing tonight? Do you want to come and have dinner with us?' And he can't. He just can't. And for me that's unfathomable. I could not live like that.

"If someone was to say, 'You can have 14 majors and 70 wins [Woods has 14 and 79 respectively] but have to deal with that, or nine majors and 40 wins and stay somewhat the same as you are', I'd take the second option all day."