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Page last updated at 16:37 GMT, Monday, 16 August 2010 17:37 UK

Rory McIlroy hopes to face Tiger Woods in Ryder Cup

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McIlroy relishing Ryder Cup battle with Woods

Rory McIlroy's near miss at the USPGA has whetted his appetite for the Ryder Cup in October and possible contests with a struggling Tiger Woods.

McIlroy was one shot outside the play-off won by Martin Kaymer but the duo's heroics have boosted European morale.

"I'm sure we'll probably see him [Tiger Woods] in Wales," added McIlroy.

"I would love to face him. Unless his game rapidly improves...I think anyone in the European team would fancy their chances against him."

McIlroy's share of third place at Whistling Straits has moved him to a career-high seventh in the world rankings.

The Northern Irishman contended seriously in a major for the first time and while he reflected on a crucial missed short putt on the 15th on Sunday, he took a host of positives from his efforts.

"It was my best chance to win a major so far," said McIlroy, after he arrived back in Belfast on Monday afternoon.

If I was in the same situation as Dustin Johnson, I might have made the same mistake

Rory McIlroy

"I came very close but it just wasn't meant to be.

"I really tried to go out there with a good positive attitude and not let anything get to me and I did a pretty good job of it.

"I was patient out there but just didn't quite make the putts when I needed them."

McIlroy acknowledged that the missed four-foot putt on the 15th would linger in his mind "over the next few weeks".

"But I'll get over it and I'll be fine.

"I'm going on holiday tomorrow for a few days and then I'm playing again in the States for four weeks in the Fed-Ex Cup play-offs."

Despite his own disappointment, McIlroy took time to express sympathy to Dustin Johnson, whose controversial two-shot penalty at the last hole for grounding his club in a bunker meant that the American failed to join Kaymer and Bubba Watson in the play-off.

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"If I was in that situation, I might have made the same mistake.

"It didn't look like a bunker. It was just a bit of a sandy area. It was unfortunate. He probably should have won two majors this year," added McIlroy, referring to Johnson's final-round implosion at the US Open in June.

"He broke the rules. He grounded the club. (But) I think it's a stupid rule.

"There are a lot of stupid rules in golf but that's the way it is.

"It's so unfortunate. He's such a good player. The way he bounced back from the US Open and put himself into contention again in a major shows that he will win majors in the future."

In terms of out-of-form world number one Woods, McIlroy is not convinced that he deserves to be one of Corey Pavin's Ryder Cup picks but the Ulsterman fully expects the 14-time major winner to be in the US team.

"There are a lot of American players playing better than him at the minute but it's always an advantage to have Tiger Woods in your team.

"I think he'll [Pavin] pick him. I don't think it would go down too well in the States if he wasn't picked."



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see also
Woods misses Ryder qualification
16 Aug 10 |  Golf
Europe stars battling to make Cup
16 Aug 10 |  Golf
Davies' Ryder Cup dream in doubt
16 Aug 10 |  Golf
Kaymer wins controversial USPGA
16 Aug 10 |  Golf


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