McIlroy's swing is better than mine was at 22, admits Tiger Woods

Even Tiger Woods believes Rory McIlroy's swing is better than his was at the same age. The former world No 1 admitted as much last night while casting further doubt on his participation at the Open Championship in two weeks' time.

Woods, who has "not hit any balls, only putted" since withdrawing from the Players seven weeks ago, was as impressed as anyone by the young Ulsterman's eight-shot win at Congressional 10 days ago. So impressed that he was prepared to agree with the assessment of his friend Mark O'Meara.

"I totally agree with Mark," said Woods, who was 21 when he won his first major, the Masters, by a record 12 shots. "Rory's swing is definitely better than mine was at the same age. He needs to continue to work on it, but he's still only 22. It's fun to see someone of that age playing the way he did and handling it the way he did after [losing at] Augusta."

Added Woods: "That was some seriously good playing... To do that at the US Open, to be that aggressive the entire time, it was cool to watch."

Of course, what would be even "cooler" to watch would be Woods and McIlroy in a battle of the generations, although it seems the world will have to wait for the duel. Woods is renowned for hugging the cards to his chest, but still his words would not have inspired any hope on the Kent coast. There are only 11 days until the field assembles and it now must be long odds-on that Woods will miss two majors in a row for the second time in 15 years as a pro.

Woods has no timetable for a return and is determined to break the habit of a career by "being smart" and not trying to play through the pain barrier in pursuit of a 15th major. "I'm going to come back when I'm 100 per cent... there's going to be no 50-50 call this time," said Woods, before outlining how he made a mistake by risking his left knee and Achilles injury at the Players. "I'm going to learn my lesson from Sawgrass [where he withdrew after nine holes]. I tried to push it too hard and hurt myself and that's why I'm going to be different this time."

Woods is no longer using a crutch or wearing a protective boot and said he would be "very surprised" if he did not play again in 2011. But, as signified by the revelation that he has so far only visited the putting green, his rehabilitation is still in its very early stages. "Every day it's gotten better. But still it's not as strong or as explosive as I'd like it to be," he said. Asked directly about when he will make a decision on the Open, he said: "We're playing it by ear... I would not go over there to show up. I would go to win the tournament."

Woods made his comments at the AT&T National in Philadelphia, an event hosted by his charitable foundation and which he is therefore attending in a promotional role. While he was exceedingly complimentary concerning McIlroy he was not about to hand over the baton to his young rival. Indeed, despite a 19-month losing run, he insisted that Jack Nicklaus's record haul of 18 majors remains as firmly in his sights as it ever did.

"I'm 35, I'm not 65 – I've still got some years ahead of me and I feel they will be my best years," said Woods.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam