McIlroy, winner of the British Open, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
and PGA Championship in his last three starts, spent a day earlier
this week with fellow Nike spokesman Woods in the New York area.
The due were promoting some new irons and also appeared on a
late-night talk show ahead of The Barclays, which opens the FedExCup
playoffs starting on Thursday.
"It was good to catch up with him. I haven't really seen him much
for a few months really," world number one McIlroy said on Wednesday
about Woods, who has shut down his golf game after continued trouble
with his back following surgery this year.
"It was good fun. It was a good day."
McIlroy grew up idolising Woods, as did so many of the young golfers
now on tour who watched the American amass 14 majors, and he feels
it may be premature to write Woods off, despite his major title
drought dating back to the 2008 U.S. Open.
"I know that he's working his butt off to get back here and get back
to where he wants to be," said the 25-year-old McIlroy, who is a
Masters title away from achieving a career grand slam.
"We talked about a few things and he's telling me like, 'I'm not
going to let you win a green jacket next year,' ... because he's
super competitive," added McIlroy, who fell in behind Jack Nicklaus
and Woods after his PGA triumph at Valhalla as the youngest player
to have captured four major titles.
McIlroy said he shares the ultra-competitiveness of Woods, though he
restricts it to golf and prefers to maintain a composed demeanor.
"I might not look it but I'm the exact same way. I've got a very
competitive spirit but it would only be on a golf course. Like I'll
let you win in a game of pool. I don't care about that," he said.
"But golf, it's my thing to be competitive at and it's my thing to
succeed in, so of course I'm really competitive and even if it
doesn't look it, on the inside I'm trying to beat those guys to
death on the course.
"Tiger has just got a more competitive spirit, period. Like he'll
want to beat you at cards. He'll want to beat you at anything you're
playing him against.
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"I'm a little bit different in that way in that golf is my vehicle to be
competitive in something in life, and that's why I sort of put
everything into that."
McIlroy said he was ready to give his all in a push for the FedExCup and
its $10 million bonus prize to the points leader after the Sep. 11-14
Tour Championship, the fourth and final event of the series.
"It would just be really gratifying to know that I finished the season
off well and the way that it should be finished off," he said.
Ridgewood Country Club, an A.W. Tillinghast design, should present a
worthy test in launching the playoffs, winning praise from many in the
122-player field as a classic, tree-lined, heavily-bunkered parkland
course with U.S. Open-style rough.
"It's a great golf course," said PGA Tour veteran Jim Furyk, who went on
to win the 2010 FedExCup series despite being disqualified from The
Barclays at Ridgewood for failing to make his pro-am tee time the day
before the first round.
"I think it's the best of the four we play," he added, ranking it ahead
of Bethpage Black, Liberty National and Plainfield.
The top 100 players on the points list advance to next week's Deutsche
Bank Championship, with the leading 70 players qualifying for the BMW
Championship which sends 30 players to the Tour Championship finale.
(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)
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