Tiger could be out of the red with McIlroy centre stage
Published 16/01/2013 | 05:00
It is a long time since Tiger Woods began a press conference with observations about someone else.
Woods was four questions into his first media engagement of the year before the topic shifted from Rory McIlroy to him.
Just how much of a shadow McIlroy has cast over Woods since his $200m (€150m) Nike unveiling will be revealed in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, should the company's new signing opt for a red shirt.
Red is the power colour that Woods made his own during his years of plunder.
Nike issues its clients with four shirts for the week and it is understood that only one player is allowed to make red his Sunday best if Woods is in the field. That player would be the holder of 14 Majors and 75 PGA titles.
McIlroy claimed to be ignorant of any stipulation and said that he didn't care what colour he wore on Sundays as long as it didn't clash with a certain shade of emerald, a reference to the jacket awarded to the winner of the Masters in April.
"I've worn red before," McIlroy said. "I'm not saying that is the colour I want to play in on the last day. I'd rather just wear something that goes with green."
McIlroy's adept sidestep of a tricky issue demonstrates how far he has come, even in the past 12 month and Woods, for one, has noticed the difference. "A lot of things are certainly changing in his life," said Woods.
"When you have success there are more responsibilities at a tournament site and more distractions that are taking you away from what you like to do, which is compete and play. That is something that he has certainly figured out, a big adjustment he made last summer."
It is a big year for Woods, who feels ready to renew the attack on the Major mountain that Jack built. He remains four short of the Nicklaus haul of 18, but fancies his chances at the big ones this year.
"Three of the four Major courses I really like. I haven't played Merion (US Open). I love Augusta. Muirfield (British Open) is a wonderful test and Oak Hill (US PGA) is straight out in front of you." (© Independent News Service)