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Rory McIlroy has Tiger Woods in his Ryder Cup sights

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World number nine golfer Rory McIlroy has his eye on a battle royale with Tiger Woods at this year’s Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in Wales – providing both men qualify that is.

The 21-year-old told the Irish Examiner that there is nothing he wouldn’t like more than a go at the world number one golfer in the biennial competition between Europe and the United States.

"I’d love to go toe-to-toe with Tiger and it will be a dream come true. There would be no better way to win the Ryder Cup than to go head-to-head with Tiger and beat him. It would be pretty cool.

"But I still need to qualify for the team and so does Tiger."

The last caveat comes during a season where the Irishman has struggled with some back issues. Woods is currently on the injured list with a neck problem, and McIlroy hopes that the setback won’t delay the 14-time major winner’s comeback too much.

"It is disappointing to see Tiger injured because I want to see him back playing and back to form again. But it’s probably more disappointing for him than for anyone else too. He has tried to come back after a lengthy spell off and has picked up this injury.

"Hopefully it’s only an inflamed joint and he’ll only be out for a couple of weeks. I hope he is at the US Open in a couple of weeks."

For McIlroy, already a winner on the PGA Tour after a blistering final round at the Quail Hollow catapulted him to victory two weeks ago, the days of not being too bothered about playing in the Ryder Cup are long gone, and he now ranks it up there among golf’s top honors.

“It’s every golfer’s dream to play in the Ryder Cup and I believe Europe will have one of the strongest teams they have ever had," he said.

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