Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Golf

McIlroy relaxed over Woods comments

Rory McIlroy laughed off suggestions that he had given Tiger Woods extra motivation for the Ryder Cup by claiming anyone on the European team would "fancy their chances" against the world number one.

Speaking last month, just days after Woods had finished 18 over par in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, McIlroy said: "I would love to face him. Unless his game rapidly improves...I think anyone in the European team would fancy their chances against him."

Asked if he was concerned his comments would motivate Woods - who has often been accused of not caring about the contest - McIlroy said: "No, I'm fine. I'm all right. You've got to realise I said those things the week after he had just shot 18 over at Akron, so he wasn't playing too well at that time."

He added: "He's obviously getting his game together and he's working with Sean Foley and he's making a few swing changes. I said this week and last week, I don't mind who (I play). I just want to win points for the team.

"If that's against Tiger or Phil (Mickelson) or Steve Stricker or Hunter Mahan or whoever, you just want to go out there and try to play as best you can. I feel if I play to my potential this week, I'll win a few points."

McIlroy also conceded that some of the aura which once surrounded Woods had disappeared due to his poor form since the sex scandal which erupted in November last year.

"Once I met Tiger, even before last year or whatever, you sort of realise that he just is a normal guy," McIlroy added. "He's probably the best player that's ever lived, and likely the greatest player that's ever played the game.

"But you watch so much golf on TV, and you see so many things and you watch so many highlights...watching Tiger winning the Masters in '97 and winning four majors in a row in 2000/2001, you sort of don't really believe it. You put him on such a high pedestal and then you meet the guy and you realise that he's obviously an unbelievable player, but he's just a normal guy.

"Before I met him, you feel as if he's superhuman. But once you meet him you realise he's a normal guy and works hard on his game and gets the most out of it.

"But after what's happened in the last 18 months, I suppose a little bit of that aura is probably gone."

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph