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Rory McIlroy laughs off new nickname

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Rory McIlroy, pictured, says he has never been intimidated by Tiger Woods

Rory McIlroy, pictured, says he has never been intimidated by Tiger Woods

Rory McIlroy, pictured, says he has never been intimidated by Tiger Woods

Rory McIlroy has dismissed the idea that he fills Tiger Woods with fear, even though Woods, tongue firmly in cheek, has started calling him "The Intimidator".

On the eve of their latest clash - one with a £7million jackpot at the end of it - McIlroy simply laughed when asked about comments by Greg Norman.

Asked for his reaction, current number one McIlroy, winner of three of his last four events, said: "No, how can I intimidate Tiger Woods? I mean, the guy's got 70-whatever PGA Tour wins, 14 majors - he's been the biggest thing ever in our sport."

Australia's former world number one Norman sparked a debate heading into the Tour Championship in Atlanta by offering the opinion that Woods now realises he is not the best player in golf any more.

"What I'm seeing is that Tiger's really intimidated by Rory," Norman said in an interview with the foxsports.com website. "I think he knows his time is up."

But McIlroy added: "How could some little 23-year-old from Northern Ireland with a few wins come up and intimidate him? It's just not possible. I don't know where he (Norman) got that from, but it's not true."

McIlroy does not think he has ever been intimidated by Woods either, though, and said: "I don't think intimidated is the right word - more just in awe of his achievements, but never intimidated."

The Tour Championship is the last leg of the FedEx Cup play-offs and McIlroy and Woods are paired together again because they are first and second in the points standings. It is winner-take-all between them despite McIlroy storming to victory in the last two tournaments.

In fact, the top five on the table - Nick Watney is third, Phil Mickelson fourth and Brandt Snedeker fifth - all know that if they win on Sunday they not only take the tournament first prize of nearly £900,000, but also the FedEx bonus of more than £6.1million.

And such is the system that all 30 players in the field, including McIlroy's Ryder Cup team-mates Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia, all have a chance of scooping the bonus payment.

PA


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