When Tiger Woods was asked Tuesday about Rory McIlroy's eight-shot U.S. Open victory, the 14-time major champion cracked a wry smile and said, "That was pretty good, wasn't it?"
Woods complimented McIlroy's ability to widen a large lead while other players were making lots of birdies, and even agreed with his old friend Mark O'Meara's statement that McIlroy is better than Woods was at age 22.
"His swing is definitely better than mine was at the same age," Woods said. "But in '99 my swing came together, and I had a pretty good next two years."
Woods, of course, went on to win five majors from 1999-2001, including four consecutive. Right now, McIlroy only has one, but that hasn't stopped others from clamoring for a Tiger-Rory rivalry or even sensible people like Padraig Harrington from saying McIlroy is more likely to break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors.
For now, Woods -- who hasn't hit a ball since withdrawing from the Players Championship in May -- prefers to remain focused on his recovery instead of what will become of Northern Ireland's budding superstar.
When asked if talk of the Rory Era made him more eager to return to play, Woods said, "Is it motivating? Absolutely not. My motivation right now is to get back to where I can play the way I know I can play and feeling good again because I haven't felt good in a number of years. I'm looking forward to that."
(Photo: Robert Beck/SI) Tweet