McIlroy to have upper hand against Woods: Donald | Pakistan Today

McIlroy to have upper hand against Woods: Donald

Luke Donald on Monday tipped world number one Rory McIlroy to have the upper hand in a potentially mouthwatering battle for supremacy with US legend Tiger Woods over the coming years.
McIlroy, 23, has won two majors in as many years and is viewed by many as the heir apparent to the 36-year-old Woods, who won the last of his 14 majors at the US Open in 2008. Woods said last week he was looking forward to a “decade” of battles with the Northern Irishman, who beat the American world number two Monday at the “Duel at Jinsha Lake” exhibition match in Shanghai.
“Rory has the upper hand,” said world number three Donald, adding that Woods still had many years left in him.
“They’re phenomenal. They have star power,” the English golfer said at a media event for the HSBC Champions 2012, which will be played at Mission Hills in southern China from November 1-4. Donald added that McIlroy had a good chance of matching his own unique feat of topping both the US and European money lists in the same year.
“Rory is emulating what I did last year… congratulations to him if he pulls it off.” McIlroy’s seemingly unstoppable rise to the top contrasts with Woods’s own shaky path in recent years.
The American’s victory at his last major came shortly before his career nosedived amid a scandal surrounding his private life which saw the American drop out of the top 50. However, three PGA Tour wins this year have propelled him back up the rankings.
South African Ernie Els, who will also be playing at the HSBC Champions 2012, said McIlroy and Woods were evenly matched. “Tiger’s got all the experience in the world and Rory’s got all the power in the world right now, he’s got all the momentum,” the four-time major champion said. “They’re really stirring the pot between the two of them and I think it’s good for golf.”
Flamboyant English golfer Ian Poulter said that the rivalry would generate worldwide interest in the sport.
“It’s an interesting rivalry that will go on for a long time,” Poulter said.
Fan frenzy greets Woods and McIlroy in China: Rory McIlroy beat Tiger Woods by a single shot in their 18-hole “Duel at Jinsha Lake” in China Monday in a high quality showdown before a frenzied audience that came to greet the world’s top two.
Having flown in late on Sunday night after coming second and fourth that day respectively in the BMW Masters in Shanghai and the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, McIlroy and Woods had any tiredness quickly extinguished by a surreal and lavish opening ceremony.
They were greeted by drum majorettes, fireworks and speeches from local dignitaries before clanging a ceremonial Chinese gong and having their handprints and autographs immortalised in clay, Hollywood-style appropriately for McIlroy, who was brought up in Holywood, Belfast.
World number one McIlroy carded a five under par 67 on the 7,039-yard, par-72 layout at Jinsha Lake Golf Club, with world number two and 14 times major winner Woods registering a 68.
It was remarkable scoring given the chaotic crowds constantly taking photos, letting their phones ring and refusing to stand still or be quiet even as the players were swinging. McIlroy grabbed an immediate birdie at the first hole, after struggling to keep a straight face in posing for photos staring Woods down boxing-style, and was never headed, thus gaining a modicum of revenge for his seven-stroke defeat when the pair last met in Turkey. “I got off to a good start,” McIlroy said. “And just tried to keep my nose in front.” “We had a great match,” Woods told reporters afterwards. “It was a lot of fun and a great exhibition. I think everyone enjoyed it.”
China is seen as the next great market for golf to conquer in its global expansion, and the fans clearly love it though are mostly oblivious to the etiquette of the game, demonstrated amply when they broke through the ropes and invaded the driving range as McIlroy and Woods warmed up.
Soon after there were comical scenes as they sprinted on and purloined all the expensive golf balls as the players attempted to leave. The melee continued at the players stood on the first tee, with stewards and security men trying and failing to stop the frenzied crowds bursting through the ropes.
“This is certainly not like most Mondays,” said Woods afterwards, smiling. “It’s been a different one, hasn’t it?”
“I wouldn’t say it was crazy out there. The word I would use is ‘enthusiastic’,” said McIlroy. “It’s good to see so many people out there. So many people that follow golf and want to watch us play. I hope that continues.”
The international golf media present were astounded at the never-before-seen antics on a golf course: leisure helicopters parked alongside putting greens; models in revealing evening gowns standing on tees; and enthusiastic spectators being tackled to the ground as they attempted to out sprint security guards.



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