Woods talks up Rory rivalry

Tiger Woods has tipped Rory McIlroy to be his nearest rival for years to come as the world’s number one and two prepare for the start of The Masters at Augusta on Thursday (Woods 9/2 fav Masters Betting).

Woods usurped the Northern Irishman at the top of the world rankings last month with victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his third victory of the year.

It completed a turnaround in form for the 37-year-old after he slumped to as low as 58 in the rankings in 2011 after issues in his private life, injuries and difficulties with his swing.

In contrast McIlroy has endured a difficult start to 2013, most notably when he walked off the course at the Honda Classic last month.

However, he showed glimpses of his best in finishing second at the Texas Open last week and is seeking a third major and first Green Jacket at the Masters (McIlroy 10/1 Masters Betting).

He is widely seen as the natural successor to Woods as golf’s latest superstar, showing promise with two major wins in the last two years.

Woods – 14 years his senior – has 14 majors to his name, though he has failed to add to that tally since 2008 and is chasing a first Green Jacket since 2005.

The American, who has been paired with compatriot Scott Piercy and England’s Luke Donald in the opening round, believes McIlroy represents the greatest threat to his quest both for Augusta glory and titles in the future.

“I think that over the course of my career, I’ve had a few [rivals]. Certainly Rory is this generation’s,” said Woods.

“I’ve had Phil [Mickelson] and Vijay [Singh] and Ernie [Els] and David [Duval] for a number of years, and now Rory’s leading this new, younger generation.”

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