Skip to main content

McIlroy dismisses claim that Tiger is 'intimidated'

September 20, 2012 -- Updated 1722 GMT (0122 HKT)
Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods will fight it out at the PGA Tour Championship in Atlanta with both men desperate for victory.
Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods will fight it out at the PGA Tour Championship in Atlanta with both men desperate for victory.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • World No.1 Rory McIlroy plays down suggestion that Tiger Woods is intimidated by him
  • Comments made by Australia's Greg Norman have been made light of by both Woods and McIlroy
  • Woods aiming to beat McIlroy to $10 million prize for coming top in FedExCup overall standings
  • Tour Championship in Atlanta which starts Thursday will decide winner of $10 million jackpot

(CNN) -- Rory McIlroy has played down comments made by Australian golfing legend Greg Norman that his emergence as the world's most dominant golfer is intimidating Tiger Woods.

Norman's comments have led to Woods jokingly referring to the Northern Irishman as "The Intimidator," says McIlroy. But it's a nickname he neither deserves, nor takes seriously, he says.

"No. How can I intimidate Tiger Woods? I mean, the guy's got 75 or whatever PGA Tour wins, 14 majors. He's been the biggest thing ever in our sport," he 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 got that from, but it's not true," he added.

But Norman, a two-time major winner, believes a changing of the golfing guard is underway.

"When have you ever seen him intimidated by another player? Never. I think [Tiger] knows his time's up and that's normal; these things tend to go in 15-year cycles," Norman told Foxsports.com.

Woods and McIlroy have been paired together in the opening round of the Tour Championship -- the final playoff in this year's FedExCup -- which starts at East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta on Thursday.

McIlroy will guarantee himself $10 million if he wins the tournament and has a good chance of taking the prize with a top-five finish, according to PGATour.com.

PGATour.com FedExCup winning scenarios

Victory in the Tour Championship would also see McIlroy complete four wins from his five most recent tournaments on the PGA Tour -- a sequence which began at the U.S.PGA Championship.

"It would just cap off a great year," McIlroy said. "It's hard to compare [the playoffs] to a major championship because it's a year--long thing and it's about being consistent.

"You have to play well at the right time like I have the last couple of weeks. It would be nice to have something to recognise that you have played the best golf the whole way throughout the year."

"If I win [the Tour Championship], I win [the FedExCup]," he said.

"That's the mindset I'm coming in with. I feel like I'm playing well enough to win. I know if I do that, everything else takes care of itself."

Meanwhile, McIlroy has revealed he will reconsider his decision to compete for Team GB at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

McIlory, who was born in Northern Ireland, received funding from the Golfing Union of Ireland before turning professional in 2007.

His comments that he would rather represent Team GB were criticized in some quarters, but McIlroy says he will make a decision nearer the time.

"After everything that happened last week it definitely makes me reconsider my position and reconsider a lot of things," he added.

"I think it just really hit home with me how important it is for a lot of people and how important my success has been to them."

"Obviously, I've had a lot of support from all sides - from people that call themselves Irish, from Northern Irish, to the whole of the UK, to people over here in the States.

"It just hit home with me at how my success is welcomed by everyone. It would be terrible for me to nearly segregate myself from one of those group that supports me so much.

"It's four years away - I still have a bit of time to decide. But, I'm very, very appreciative and very grateful of the support that I get from everyone."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT)
When someone tells you to go jump in a lake, sometimes it's best to take their advice. "I've never been so scared," says golfer Pablo Larrazabal.
Bubba Watson is the Masters king, but can he win a major away from Augusta? Living Golf's Shane O'Donoghue has the lowdown.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1412 GMT (2212 HKT)
Arnold Palmer
Arnold Palmer won his first major at Augusta, played there with the U.S. President and made a record 50 consecutive Masters appearances.
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1202 GMT (2002 HKT)
He is remembered for designing one of the world's most famous golf courses, but the man behind Augusta died pleading to be paid.
April 9, 2014 -- Updated 1426 GMT (2226 HKT)
Will Phil Mickelson win a fourth green jacket? Can Europe end its long Masters wait? Or will Adam Scott emulate the absent Tiger Woods?
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1004 GMT (1804 HKT)
Take a trip around Augusta. From Eisenhower's toppled tree to the fiendishly-difficult Amen Corner, the Masters' home venue has it all.
April 8, 2014 -- Updated 1204 GMT (2004 HKT)
He's been mistaken for Tiger Woods' ball-boy, but that won't be the case when amateur star Matt Fitzpatrick tees off at the Masters.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 1228 GMT (2028 HKT)
2012 Masters Champion Bubba Watson shows us how to hit the long ball.
April 3, 2014 -- Updated 1827 GMT (0227 HKT)
CNN's Shane O'Donoghue meets Billy Payne -- the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club.
April 3, 2014 -- Updated 1739 GMT (0139 HKT)
Shane O'Donoghue meets Ben Crenshaw who won his first of two Masters thirty years ago this month.
March 27, 2014 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
They carry a bag for a living but these men can bring home six-figure incomes. Welcome to the world of a caddy.
CNN's Alex Thomas welcomes golf opening itself up to women, but questions the motives behind the decision.
ADVERTISEMENT