ATLANTA — Charles Barkley was hanging out at the CBS interview set with Amanda Renner when Rory McIlroy finished his round on Saturday at East Lake Golf Club and couldn’t help but needle the four-time major winner and reigning FedEx Cup champion (at least for one more day).
Barkley, who said he was headed to the Chris Stapleton concert that night with CBS golf commentator and pal Colt Knost, joked to McIlroy, who injured his back earlier this week and has been playing at less than full strength, that he looked like he had plenty of speed in the third round.
“I think you’re faking it,” Barkley said.
McIlroy shot 1-over 71 in the third round, snapping a string of 30 consecutive rounds under par.
But as McIlroy made his way to a post-round interview with Sky Sports, he changed his tune and said, “Good luck at the Ryder Cup.”
McIlroy stopped and turned and asked, “You mean that? Do you really mean that?”
“I really mean that,” Barkley said. “Hey, I don’t pull for teams, I pull for guys like yourself.”
The Northern Irishman is expected to be one of the team leaders when the European side plays host to Team USA and tries to win back the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome, Italy, Sept. 29-Oct. 1.