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Rory McIlroy Wants to Battle Tiger Woods Down the Stretch at a Major

Photo: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods shake hands on the 18th green during the 2014 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Rory McIlroy versus Tiger Woods, both in peak form, duking it out during the pressure-filled final stretch of a major. McIlroy, speaking to the media before this week's Omega Dubai Desert Classic, said he still hopes for that dream matchup.

"Hopefully, if he can get healthy, I would still love to have a crack at him down the stretch in a major," McIlroy said. "I would love that, just once. At this point it's just up to him to get healthy and get his game back, and if I hopefully keep playing the way I'm playing, maybe one day it'll happen."

Technically, McIlroy did have a similar pairing with Woods for the final round of last year's Masters, but Jordan Spieth ran away with the tournament and neither McIlroy nor Woods threatened the Texan on Sunday.

Woods is still recovering from multiple back surgeries and hasn't played since August. In a revealing interview published with Time Magazine in December, there were hints that the once-untouchable champion might be thinking about retirement.

McIlroy turned pro in 2007, a year before Woods won his 14th and final major to date at the U.S. Open.

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