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September 19 2012

3:27 PM

Woods: ‘It’s got to be the hair’

Interview: Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods meets with the media and discusses his chances ahead of the FedExCup finale.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

ATLANTA -- Greg Norman created a bit of a buzz earlier this week when he told Robert Lusetich of Foxsports.com that he feels Tiger Woods is "really intimidated" by Rory McIlroy.

“When have you ever seen him intimidated by another player? Never," Norman said. "But I think he knows his time’s up and that’s normal; these things tend to go in 15-year cycles. Jack (Nicklaus) took it from Arnold (Palmer). I took it from Jack, Tiger from me and now it looks like Rory’s taking it from Tiger.”

Not so fast, the two said Wednesday morning on the eve of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. McIlroy and Woods enter the final event in the FedExCup Playoffs ranked Nos. 1-2 respectively, both in the standings that will decide the winner of the $10 million bonus on Sunday and the world rankings.

When asked about Norman's comments on Wednesday, both players, who have effected a friendly rivalry and play together on Thursday at East Lake, essentially laughed them off.

"He's got a new nickname for me, actually," McIlroy said. "He calls me the Intimidator.  He's obviously seen (the comments), too."

Woods smiled when the subject of the rivalry with the McIlroy came up about 15 minutes later.

"It's got to be the hair," the closely-shorn Woods said – not once, but twice. When pressed, though, the man who has spent more time at world No. 1 than anyone else said intimidation doesn't play a factor in an individual pursuit like golf.

"No one is the size of Ray Lewis who is going to hit me coming over the middle, so this is a different kind of sport," Woods said. "We go out there and we play our own game. And see where it falls at the end of the day.

"It's not like you go over the middle and some guy is 255 pounds and going to take your block off. This is about execution and going about your own business and see where tends up at the end of the day. It's just the nature of our sport, which is different than some sports.
   
"Some individual sports, such as tennis, you actually can do that physically, because you're playing against somebody. Here no one is affecting any shots.

McIlroy, who has won three times in his last four starts, including the PGA Championship and two Playoffs events, also turned more serious.

"How can I intimidate Tiger Woods?" McIlroy said, talking about the man who has always been his idol. "I mean, the guy's got 75 or 70 whatever PGA TOUR wins, 14 majors. 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."

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