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Page last updated at 10:56 GMT, Wednesday, 4 February 2009

McIlroy tipped to emulate Woods

Simon Wakefield
Wakefield is backing McIlroy to become a future star of the game

Young Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy has the potential to emulate Tiger Woods, according to Staffordshire golfer Simon Wakefield.

McIlroy, 19, won his first professional tournament in Dubai on Sunday.

And Wakefield, who belongs to the same stable of players as McIlroy, believes he can emulate some of the greatest players in the next few years.

He told BBC Radio Stoke: "Rory's one hell of a player. He's got a special spark, he's taking it to a new level."

He added: "Whether he can be as good as Tiger, we'll have to see. We've said that no-one will be able to beat Tiger, but Rory's certainly on the right track."

Wakefield also backed Colin Montgomerie to be a successful Ryder Cup captain, after he was named by the players as their unanimous choice to lead the team at Celtic Manor in 2010.

"I think he'll do a fantastic job, it was a toss-up between Monty and Jose Maria Olazabal, and Monty's got it," said Wakefield.

"The difficulty he has is if he starts playing well, whether he'll have to step down as captain and let someone else do it.

"He's a perfectionist and I'm sure he'll get the team fired up."

As for his own form, the 34-year-old from Newcastle-under-Lyme has one goal for the upcoming year - to win a tournament.

"A win would be fantastic, but I just need to work on sharpening up my good shots. We all hit it well on the range, but it's transferring that onto the golf course," he said.

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