When Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods tee it up together Thursday in the first round of the Tour Championship at East Lake, it will be another chapter in their buddies series that has developed in this FedEx Cup playoff.
Rory jokes about Tiger going bald.
Tiger jokes about Rory being short.
They both shake their head about Greg Norman’s comments that Tiger is intimidated by Rory. Tiger may be many things. Intimidated on the golf course is not one of them.
Ideally, they’ll duel through the weekend at East Lake for the FedEx Cup prize but eyes are already being cast toward the Ryder Cup next weekend at Medinah outside Chicago, imagining the possibility of a McIlroy-Woods Sunday singles match.
It’s what everybody wants – even Rory and Tiger.
“That would be fun,” Woods said Wednesday when asked about it.
McIlroy said the same.
“I'm not going to sit here and lie and say I wouldn't enjoy it, because I would,” McIlroy said in Atlanta.
If this were the Presidents Cup, their match could be arranged. Captains set the pairings one by one against the other captain.
In the Ryder Cup, it’s blind draw. U.S. captain Davis Love III will put 12 names in order in an envelope and European captain Jose Maria Olazabal will do the same.
That means Woods and McIlroy will have to be slotted into the same spots in a blind draw.
Maybe Love and Olazabal will send emissaries with messages to the other side that they plan to put their stars in, say, the fifth singles match on Sunday.
The Ryder Cup will be spectacular regardless. But Tiger and Rory head to head on Sunday with the Cup in the balance?
What a sweet thought.