Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are having a friendly competition
World Golf Hall of Fame member Greg Norman recently said that Tiger Woods is intimidated by Rory McIlroy.
At the Tour Championship yesterday, Tiger and Rory were paired in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, where Tiger’s four-under par 66 bettered Rory’s 69. Tiger has posted lower scores than Rory in four of the five rounds in which they have been paired during the playoffs.
Tiger sees Rory as a talented youngster who is just beginning to reach his full potential on the PGA Tour. He understands his position as a 15-year veteran, and as a competition junkie, needs a worthy opponent to bring out his best.
Rory is that guy—a talented competitor who brings out the best in Tiger.
Rory has won two majors over the last two years, at the 2011 U.S. Open and the 2012 PGA Championship. Tiger has not won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open.
Rory has been ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings for 13 weeks. Tiger was No. 1 for 623 weeks and has worked his way back to the No. 2 spot in the world.
The fact that Tiger did not win a major in 2012 has to be a huge disappointment for him. He had a very good finish to 2011 and his outlook heading into 2012 was bright.
His game has got progressively better throughout the year, and he appears to be on the right track to once again hold major hardware in the not-too-distant future.
Rory has all of the shots. He hits his driver very long and straight and makes a ton of putts. The demands of travel, sponsor commitments and the daily grind that a golf professional faces is the challenge that Rory has had to learn to handle.
If Tiger can find something else on which to focus his efforts, such as reclaiming his No. 1 world ranking, the major victories will come.
Even though Rory has won two FedEx Cup Playoff events this year, Tiger could still win at East Lake and collect the top prize.
That might add some extra drama to the PGA Tour Player of the Year voting, although Rory’s Wanamaker Trophy would probably trump Tiger’s FedEx Cup.
Is Tiger intimidated by Rory?
With all due respect to Greg Norman, he may be just a little off base with that notion.