Despite all the awe-shucks talk coming from Rory McIlroy about his relationship with Tiger Woods, one former No. 1 doesn't buy all the good-natured razzing.
Greg Norman, whose 331 weeks atop the ranking are second only to Woods's 623, thinks that the young challenger is actually inside Tiger's head. In an interview with Robert Lusetich of Fox Sports, the Shark committed what, just a few years ago, would be golf-talk blasphemy.
“What I’m seeing is that Tiger’s really intimidated by Rory,” he says. “When have you ever seen him intimidated by another player? Never.
“But I think he knows his time’s up and that’s normal; these things tend to go in 15-year cycles.
“Jack took it from Arnold (Palmer). I took it from Jack, Tiger from me and now it looks like Rory’s taking it from Tiger.”
Norman went on to say that it's McIlroy — not Woods — who has the best shot to pass Nicklaus's record of 18 majors. Norman has a painfully long history of falling short in the big ones, and he understands pressing — something he's seeing recently in Tiger's game:
“The more you want something, the more you reach for it, the more it gets pushed away,” Norman says. “I know all about that. I had that with the Masters.
“Tiger’s pushing himself harder and harder now because he’s not the force he used to be, and he knows it.”