London, June 30: American golf star Tiger Woods has paid U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy the ultimate tribute by acknowledging the Ulsterman is technically a superior player than he was at the same age.
According to the Daily Express, McIlroy’s runaway victory at the US Open at the age of 22 inevitably drew comparisons with Woods, who won his first Major at 21.
However, Woods says McIlroy has more tools in his bag than he had at the comparative stage of their careers thanks to a swing which propels the ball more than 300 yards off the tee with no discernible strain.
“His swing is definitely better than mine was at the same age,” said Woods, who reeled off five out of the next six Majors after landing the 1999 USPGA Championship.
“When I was 21, granted, I had some success but I didn’t like my swing. That’s why I changed it – and I had a pretty good next two years.
“Rory needs to continue working on it and continue getting better but the US Open was pretty good, wasn’t it? That was some seriously good playing and he’s still young.
“He just didn’t make any bogeys and that was very impressive. To do that at a US Open, to be that aggressive the entire time, was cool to watch,” said Woods.
The doubts over McIlroy, who had perfected his swing by the age of 16 with his coach Michael Bannon, were more mental than technical after his meltdown at the Masters.
But Woods says it was pain he had to feel as part of his development, having gone through a smaller-scale collapse of his own in his third tournament as a pro when, aged 20.
Woods’ unusually generous praise shows that even his head has been turned by McIlroy’s show. (ANI)