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Woods and 'intimidator' McIlroy scoff at Norman

ESPN staff
September 19, 2012 « Bisping commands the respect of Jon Jones | Chartbeat test »

The Ryder Cup gets underway at Medinah Country Club on September 28. ESPN will have extensive coverage of the event - including interactive text commentary, reports and reaction - for all three days.

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have both laughed off comments from Greg Norman suggesting the American was "really intimidated" by the young Ulsterman.

Norman, a two-time major champion, claimed that Woods had suddenly met his match in McIlroy - believing the 14-time major champion was quickly having to come to terms with the fact that there was now a golfer out there more dominant than him.

When the two players arrived at East Lake on Wednesday to practice ahead of this week's Tour Championship, Woods jokingly called McIlroy - who he shares a good on-course relationship with - 'The Intimidator'.

But neither player was prepared to take Norman's comments seriously when they spoke to the media.

"It's got to be the hair," Woods joked, when asked why he might be intimidated by McIlroy.

Dismissing Norman's comments, he added: "No one is the size of [NFL linebacker] Ray Lewis who is going to hit me coming over the middle. This is a different kind of sport. We go out there and we play our own game and see where it falls at the end of the day."

McIlroy struck a similar tone, noting that Woods has the sort of CV that surely renders him beyond intimidation.

"How can I intimidate Tiger Woods? I mean, the guy's got 70-whatever PGA Tour wins, 14 majors," he said. "He's been the biggest thing ever in our sport. How could some little 23-year-old from Northern Ireland with a few wins come up and intimidate him?

"It's just not possible. I don't know where [Norman] got that from, but it's not true."

Both players were once again asked about the prospect of facing each other in singles at the forthcoming Ryder Cup, and both insisted they would love that dream match-up to become a reality.

"That would be fun," Woods said.

"I'm not going to sit here and lie and say I wouldn't enjoy it, because I would," McIlroy added.

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