RYDER CUP newcomer Rory McIlroy last night fanned the flames ahead of this week’s contest by declaring that America’s Tiger Woods has lost his “aura”.
United States captain Corey Pavin has warned McIlroy he risks goading the best out of world No1 Woods, who is without a top-three finish in what has been a traumatic year.
Northern Irishman McIlroy, 21, raised eyebrows last month when he said any of Europe’s team would “fancy their chances” against him at Celtic Manor.
But the debutant yesterday maintained his confident stance and brushed aside Pavin’s suggestion his comments would only serve to motivate Woods.
“Before I met him, you feel as if he’s superhuman,” said McIlroy of Woods. “But once you meet him you realise he’s a normal guy and works hard on his game and gets the most out of it.
“But after the last 18 months, I suppose a little bit of that aura is probably gone.
“I said this week and last week: I don’t mind who; I just want to win points for the team. If that’s against Tiger or Phil [Mickelson] or Steve Stricker or Hunter Mahan or whoever, you just want to go out there and try to play as best you can. I feel if I play to my potential, I’ll win a few points.”