Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods to clash next week in head-to-head New York duel
NO need to wait until the Ryder Cup for a duel between Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods - it will happen next week.
As first and second on the FedEx Cup points list the two biggest names in golf are certain to be paired together for the first of the four play-off events, The Barclays at Bethpage on New York's Long Island.
The clash comes after McIlroy's amazing eight-shot win at the USPGA Championship, the same margin of victory as he had in last year's US Open.
Woods has now gone 50 months without adding to his 14 majors and his next chance does not come until The Masters next April.
Meanwhile, American Ryder Cup captain Davis Love said today he would love to see Tiger Woods taking on Rory McIlroy in the Ryder Cup singles in Chicago next month.
The two golfing superstars never faced each other on McIlroy's debut at Celtic Manor two years ago, but the morning after the 23 year-old Northern Irishman's runaway US PGA Championship victory Love said: "I'd want to go watch that one.
"It would be nice to be able to rig a couple like that for Tiger and Rory - he would probably like that. It would be a great match. I'm sure they both would relish that - we have got some guys on our team that I'm sure would love to take him on because you want to play the best."
He added: "You want to play a guy that's hot and I know Tiger or Phil [Mickelson] or any of those guys would love to try it."
At Celtic Manor, Wales, in 2010 McIlroy twice faced Matt Kuchar and Stewart Cink and then, with Graeme McDowell as his partner, took on Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan before his singles clash with Cink. It was halved.
Love and opposite number Jose Maria Olazabal will put in their line-ups separately for each of the sessions, but with McIlroy the world No 1 and only current major champion on the European side it would be no surprise to see him sent off first, especially as he likes to play quickly.
In six Ryder Cup appearances - only one of them a team victory - Woods has only gone off in the opening singles once. He beat Paul Casey 3&2 in Detroit in 2004.
On the other occasions he was placed third in 1997 (a 4&2 defeat by Costantino Rocca), fifth (a 3&2 win over Andrew Coltart), last (a half with Jesper Parnevik when Europe had already won), fourth (a 3&2 win over Robert Karlsson in Ireland) and eighth (a 4&3 victory over Francesco Molinari).
Love described McIlroy as "one of the best players in the world", but is not prepared to go further for the time being despite his two majors both coming by eight strokes.
"He's one of the best with Luke Donald and Tiger Woods and Bubba Watson," he said. "When he gets ahead he's pretty amazing. I think that's the most incredible thing about Rory - give him a chance."