Tiger: Game On, Rory…Rory: Whatever, Tiger.
By Stephanie Wei under Ryder Cup

Tiger Woods takes a big swing off the tee at Celtic Manor

Ever since Rory McIlroy proclaimed that he’d “love to face [Tiger Woods]” and fancied his chances against him “unless his game rapidly improves,” there’s been speculation on the challenge becoming reality.

In Tuesday’s press conference, asked for his reaction, Tiger replied, “Me, too.” Care to elaborate? “No.”

McIlroy reminded reporters of the context, “You’ve got to remember that I made those comments after he had just shot 18-over in the Bridgestone Invitational at Akron, so he wasn’t playing too well at the time.”

Then it was rumored at the BMW Championship that Tiger said to Rory, “Be careful what you wish for.” McIlroy denies the encounter. Many are hoping for the two to face off in the singles matches on Sunday. Some are arguing that McIlroy’s comments are just what Tiger needed to get fired up.

Just ask Stephen Ames. Or Rory Sabbatini. Or Vijay Singh.

The lesson is, Tiger thrives off personal insults and challenges. But let’s also remember that the Tiger playing in the Ryder Cup isn’t the same one in years past.

“He is probably the best player who has ever lived but after what has happened in the past 18 months, I suppose a little bit of that aura has probably gone,” said McIlroy, refusing to back down. “I’m sure he’ll get back to winning the way he used to but, for the meantime, it has gone.”

Meanwhile, when asked what it was like to be wifeless at an event where the wives play such a prominent role, Tiger didn’t miss a beat in giving a non-answer.

“I think it’s a great week,” he said. “We are all looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to it and it’s just been a great week.”

[Photo by David Davies/PA Wire]