Pennsylvania: Tiger Woods said it was fun watching Rory McIlroy run away with the US Open this year and feels the Northern Irishman is a better player than he was at the tender golfing age of 22.
"That was pretty good, wasn't it? That was some seriously good playing," Woods told reporters at the AT&T National PGA event he is hosting this week at Aronimink.
McIlroy set a number of US Open scoring records en route to an eight-shot win on June 19 that recalled Woods's 12-shot triumph at the 1997 Masters as a 21-year-old and the American's 15-shot win at the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach.
"In 1997 when I was, what, 21, granted I had some success, but I didn't like my golf swing. That's why I changed it," the 14-time major winner said when asked to compare himself to McIlroy. "I felt like at the same age, his swing is definitely better than mine was at the same age.”
"But in '99 my swing came together and I had a pretty good next two years," Woods said about a period in his career that produced the so-called 'Tiger Slam' in which he held all four major championship titles at the same time.
"He needs to obviously continue working on it and continue getting better. And he's still young ... so it's fun to see someone who's of that age play the way he did and handle himself the way he did after Augusta," Woods added, referring to the Masters in April when McIlroy squandered a four-stroke lead in the final round.
"Hey, we've all fallen, we've all made mistakes and played poorly and lost tournaments ... It's fun to see someone apply what they've learned and succeed while doing it."
Woods said he was impressed by how McIlroy, now world number three, kept playing aggressively at Congressional despite holding a big lead.
"It was cool to see that he had softer conditions and he was able to go low but also was able to continue pushing it, and that's what's fun. When you have a lead to keep building on it and keep pushing," said Woods.
"That was very impressive playing. To do that at a US Open, to be that aggressive the entire time, that was cool to watch."
First Published: Wednesday, June 29, 2011, 11:57