Rory McIlroy goes Tiger hunting in Chicago this weekend with a Ryder Cup word of warning ringing in his ears from former captain Colin Montgomerie.
The world number one missed out on the $10 million FedEx bonus in Atlanta on Sunday when Brandt Snedeker drew first blood for the American team.
Snedeker warmed up for his Ryder Cup wildcard pick by winning the Tour Championship and topping the FedEx rankings, a double that earned him a massive $11.5 million windfall.
The pair are set to clash again when Europe begin the defense of their Ryder Cup in Medinah on Friday, but Monty has warned McIlroy not to take on world number two Tiger Woods in Sunday’s singles on American soil.
Captain when Europe won in Wales two years ago, Monty said, “I would leave Woods well alone. Don’t go anywhere near him, especially in America and playing now to a certain degree an awful lot better than he has been.
“I would want Rory to be playing someone else in the singles if you don’t mind. Yes, everybody wants this to happen, but look what happened to Stephen Ames when he played Woods and was crushed at the 2006 World Match Play in California.
“Look at what happened to Francesco Molinari when he played Woods in Wales and lost.”
McIlroy will be the main man for Europe in Medinah despite his failure to seal the FedEx deal in Atlanta when he did enjoy the consolation of a $3 million check for finishing second in the rankings.
After finishing the tournament in 10th place, the Ulsterman was philosophical at the end of a week that saw him confirm he is selling his multi-million dollar property near Belfast.
McIlroy said: “I have to stay positive. It’s been a great year and I’ve had three wins starting at the PGA Championship.
“I knew if I won this week I won the whole thing, but Brandt knew the same thing and he did what he needed to do. He played fantastic out there.
“Now I have the Ryder Cup to look forward to and that is going to be something special.”
Meanwhile, speaking ahead of the Atlanta tournament, McIlroy admitted that the heartfelt reaction by fans to his decision to choose the Great Britain team over the Irish team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio has led him to think deeply about his decision.
“After everything that happened last week it definitely makes me reconsider my position and reconsider a lot of things. I think it just really hit home with me how important it is for a lot of people and how important my success has been to them,” McIlroy said.
“Obviously, I’ve had a lot of support from all sides — from people that call themselves Irish, from Northern Irish, to the whole of the U.K., to people over here in the States. It just hit home with me at how my success is welcomed by everyone.”
McIlroy went on to insist that his decision was by no means final and that he has plenty of time to think about his decision before the Olympics in 2016. He added that choosing one team over another would be difficult as he does not want to detach himself from any group of people who support his game.
He continued, “It would be terrible for me to nearly segregate myself from one of those group that supports me so much.
“It’s four years away — I still have a bit of time to decide. But, I’m very, very appreciative and very grateful of the support that I get from everyone. It’s great that I get so much support. There are not many people in my position that have to go through what I might have to go through in four years’ time, but it is what it is.
“I’m a golfer first and foremost and I just want to play well on the golf course. Hopefully people enjoy that and the entertainment that that brings.”