Golf fans will get to see these guys player together again in the Tour Championship
Right now that’s a silly question. Nobody on the planet is playing better golf than the young man from Northern Ireland.
Who will have the better career? We won’t know that until Woods has finished his time on the PGA Tour and McIlroy has put another 15 or 20 years in.
And while McIlroy still trails Woods by a large margin in major championships won, there are some things that have become apparent that the No. 1 player in the world does better than the man who used to be No. 1 in the world.
Check out this list.
Rory McIlroy has proven he can get up and down from anywhere.
Tiger Woods has been universally acclaimed as the world’s best short-game artist during his era of dominance. Who can forget the chip-in on the 16th hole at Augusta National in the final round of the 2005 Masters?
How about those two flop shots in the Memorial Tournament over the years? One on the 11th hole, the other at the 16th this year.
Those are shots that have become part of our “Tiger History,” but even though Rory McIlroy hasn’t produced any of those “remember that?” shots, I’m thinking it’s just a matter of time.
And maybe it’s an indication of how well he’s playing that McIlroy hasn’t had to come up with that “Kodak Moment” shot.
He’s been so clutch that it’s not been required of him to hit the super-shot. But it’s in there.
McIlroy has been able to harness his unbelievable power.
Because McIlroy is playing with basically the same swing he brought to the PGA Tour and hasn’t gone through a handful of swing changes and swing doctors like Woods has, he concentrates mostly on repeating that pure swing, propelling golf balls long distances and finding short-grass areas.
When Woods was at his best, he was a good driver of the ball, but not in the class that McIlroy is now.
While distance comparisons are unfair because of the difference in the ages of the two, McIlroy is very much the equal of Woods in his ability to overpower a golf course.
And while Woods used to bomb it everywhere and then rip it out of the rough and onto the green, McIlroy doesn’t have to look far off the fairway very often.
The odds against seeing Rory McIlroy drop-kick a club like Tiger Woods did at the Masters are not good.
Woods was programmed growing up to have tunnel vision when it came to golf.
And while his father’s teaching methods have been questioned, Woods definitely put up a force field around himself and really never was affected by fans (except when then-caddie Stevie Williams went on a camera-throwing rant).
Woods is probably the most notable golfer in the modern era for being able to turn the air around him with expletives and combinations of expletives.
And he has since graduated to club-flinging and then club drop-kicking.
None of that seems to fit with McIlroy’s personality. Does he get mad on the golf course? You bet he does. Does he say an inappropriate word (or phrase)? Count on it.
But he was obviously brought up with a different perspective on life and he knows where reasonable limits are.
McIlroy's hot putter was a key to his last two wins.
Bombing the ball off the tee is cool and creates the most eye-popping statistics, but the great players learn early in their careers that getting the ball in the hole as quickly as possible wins tournaments.
During his prime, Woods became nearly automatic from just about any distance.
As he’s gotten older, battled injuries and tried to get comfortable with new swings, Woods’ putting has suffered.
At his golf-tender age of 23, McIlroy has come to grips with the importance of the flat stick. He averaged just under 26 putts in winning the Deutsche Bank and 27 last week at the BMW Championship.
Both of those numbers put him in the top 10 in the field in putting each week.
Woods' comeback the last couple years has been thwarted by his inability to put like he used to.
McIlroy is now doing what Woods used to do on the greens. And when he’s at his best, he does it even better.
Rory McIlroy stands alone on the PGA Tour.
Back in 2003, when Woods was 23 years old, he was second, 67th and first in the birdies or better category for par 3s, 4s and 5s, respectively.
That’s pretty much the way his career has gone in that regard.
Making birdies on the par 4s has always been his weakest area.
Guess what? Rory McIlroy is ranked first, second and third on the 3s, 4s and 5s, respectively.