Rory McIlroy prepares for a showdown as Tiger Woods takes pole position
The fight for the mouthwatering $10 million bonus from the FedEx Cup Series has turned into a raging battle between teammates. Everyone anticipated the emergence of a prominent leader after yesterday’s first round of the Tour Championship at East Lake, Atlanta; however there was an unexpected turn of events.
Rory McIlroy, who had Tiger Woods as his playing partner, led the way into the $8.4 million event yesterday. However, by the end of the day it was Tiger Woods who had the advantage and looked destined for victory.
The Irishman went ahead with a good start, but Tiger Woods soon proved he was more impressive than his teammate. The 14 times Major champion recorded a four under par 66 which helped him become the tournament’s joint-leader with England’s Justin Rose. This makes Tiger Woods one ahead of the US Ryder Cup player Matt Kuchar and fellow American Bo Van Pelt and Scott Piercy.
“I played very well today,” Tiger Woods said. “The adrenalin was flowing. I still have an extra gear but on this course, you must keep the ball below the hole. For me, winning takes care of everything.”
Rory McIlroy, who shot a one-under 69, admitted Tiger Woods played better than him. The 23-year-old World No. 1 told reporters that he enjoyed the course and that he was certainly “not intimidated” by Tiger Woods’ success. Rory McIlroy also confessed that he hoped to play with Tiger Woods again in the future.
“Tiger played better than me today but it was fun out there,” Rory McIlroy said. “I’m really enjoying my first look at this course. Tiger and I enjoyed playing together. I have become more comfortable playing with him.”
“The more you are around a guy, the better it becomes. I’m not intimidated by him and he’s not intimidated by me and I’m sure we will be playing many more times together in the future.”
Phil Mickelson has a shot at glory as well. The 42-year-old is third in the FedEx ranking at the outset following a one-under par 69.
Although there is a healthy competition at the event, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are the hot favorites. Presently, Tiger Woods has more chance of winning the tournament. The American has been very impressive between tee and green for most of Thursday.