Tiger Woods hopes to rival Rory McIlroy over the next five to 10 years
McIlroy was confirmed as the year-end world No. 1 earlier this week
14-time major winner says he and McIlroy need to face off at major tournaments more often
McIlroy named on the Forbes Magazine 30 under 30 sporting list
Fourteen-time major winner Tiger Woods has set his sights on rivaling world No. 1 Rory McIlroy over the next five to 10 years.
Northern Ireland’s McIlroy was confirmed as the year-end No. 1 earlier this week, after a landmark year which saw him win his second major and become only the second player to finish top of both the European and PGA Tour money lists.
Woods, who spent a record 281 consecutive weeks at the top of the world rankings before details of extra-marital affairs caused his personal life to implode in November 2009, wants to once again challenge for top honors after three PGA Tour wins in 2012.
“Rory McIlroy had a wonderful year and my hat is off to him,” Woods, who is third in the world rankings behind McIlroy and Englishman Luke Donald, wrote in a blog on his official website.
“He deserved Player of the Year. Whether we develop a rivalry remains to be seen. Let’s just let it play out and see where it takes us.”
In order for their rivalry to develop, Woods says he and McIlroy need to go head-to-head in the closing stages of the sport’s biggest tournaments.
It happened just once in 2012, with McIlroy beating Woods by two strokes at the $5.7 million Honda Classic.
The duo did face off in a lucrative exhibition match in China dubbed the “Duel at Jinsha Lake”. McIlroy emerged victorious from the $2 million showdown.
“We’ll look at the results (over) the next five or 10 years and see if it becomes a rivalry or not. We’ll have to win big events and play each other down the stretch,” added Woods, who is hoping to equal Jack Nicklaus’ record total of 18 majors in 2013.
“That hasn’t happened yet. We’ve only played each other at Honda down the stretch. We need a lot more of those type of battles, but in bigger events.”
McIlroy’s growing stature within golf was recognized by his inclusion in the Forbes Magazine 30 under 30 list – a rundown of the most influential teens and 20-somethings in the sporting world.
The 23-year-old was joined on the list by his tennis star girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki. The Dane topped the world rankings for 67 of 68 weeks between 2010 and 2012 despite still awaiting her first career grand slam.