Ryder Cup 2010: Rory McIlroy stands by Woods comments
38th Ryder Cup Venue: Celtic Manor, Newport Date: 1-3 October Starts: 0745 BST on Friday Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live & online, live text commentary online & daily highlights on BBC TWO. Live on Sky Sports 1
Woods aura has diminished - McIlroy
Rory McIlroy says world number one Tiger Woods has lost his aura and he wants to play him at this weekend's Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.
After Woods' poor performance at last month's WGC Bridgestone Invitational McIlroy said: "I'd love to face him," with Woods replying this week "me too".
Woods has had a turbulent year, with a loss of form and his marriage ending.
"After what's happened in the last 18 months, I suppose a little bit of that aura is probably gone," said McIlroy.
Woods finished 18 over at the Bridgestone event, prompting 21-year-old European team debutant McIlroy to say of the American: "Unless his game rapidly improves... I think anyone in the European team would fancy their chances against him."
And as the teams got settled in at the Welsh venue for this weekend's Europe v United States match, Northern Ireland's McIlroy continued to stoke the rivalry.
"Once I met Tiger, even before last year or whatever, you sort of realise that he just is a normal guy," McIlroy added.
"He's probably the best player that's ever lived, and likely the greatest player that's ever played the game.
"But you watch so much golf on TV, and you see so many things and you watch so many highlights... watching Tiger winning the Masters in '97 and winning four majors in a row in 2000/2001, you sort of don't really believe it.
"You put him on such a high pedestal and then you meet the guy and you realise that he's obviously an unbelievable player, but he's just a normal guy."
McIlroy may regret Woods jibe - Pavin
When told of McIlroy's comments about wanting to play him, a stern-faced Woods replied: "Me too".
Elsewhere, McIlroy's team-mate Ian Poulter has moved to clear the air over doubts about his relationship with team captain Colin Montgomerie.
Poulter was a controversial wildcard selection by captain Nick Faldo two years ago, when he was criticised for not returning to Europe to play the final qualifying event.
At the time Montgomerie suggested that Poulter may have received preferential treatment from Faldo, and had a "hot-line" to the captain, a comment which was clearly not appreciated by Poulter.
But Poulter, who went on to be Europe's top points scorer at the 2008 Cup, insisted this was all water under the bridge.
"We understand each other very well," said Poulter.
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