"You're going to win," Rafa wrote to Rory. Sure enough, McIlroy went out and did just that.
Now, before we proclaim him Rafa the Greek, it should be noted that McIlroy was sitting on a record-setting lead at Congressional and had as much chance to lose the Open as Nadal does at dropping his first-round match at Wimbledon. (Unless Nadal can't see on the court because his eyes hurt from sitting four inches from that television.) Still, McIlroy has blown big leads in majors before, so a message from a guy who's won 10 of 'em had to have provided a nice boost before tee off.
Nadal and McIlroy met at last year's tennis U.S. Open and forged an instant bond. McIlroy says Nadal is a sporting role model and Nadal says he gets his own energy from McIlroy. "For sure, Rory is an inspiration. I admire him a lot," Nadal told reporters over the weekend at Wimbledon before cruising in Monday's first-round match. "I love watching Rory. What he's doing is really something unbelievable."
There may be something to this tennis-golf text message connection. While playing in a tournament three years on the same Congressional course that hosted this year's Open, Tiger Woods received a text informing him that his pal Roger Federer had defeated Andy Roddick in the Wimbledon final. Tiger went on to win that day.
If Nadal wins Wimbledon in two weeks, you'll know why. It'll be because of the text message. Solely the text message.
- Rafael Nadal