Rory McIlroy wants a showdown with Tiger Woods in a major

Tiger Woods vs. Rory McIlroy in a major? (USATSI)
Tiger Woods vs. Rory McIlroy in a major? (USATSI)

I'm getting a little shaky just thinking about it. A 30-year-old-in-his-absolute-prime Rory McIlroy and a rejuvenated, healthy 44-year-old Tiger Woods trading haymakers for the 2020 green jacket at Augusta. Hoooooo boy!

McIlroy said at the Dubai Desert Classic on Wednesday that he would love to trade blows with Big Cat in a big boy event one of these days. He was asked if he would have "relished" the opportunity to take on Tiger when Tiger was really humming. 

"I would have liked to," said McIlroy "I sort of feel like the competition brings the best out of me. And I think Phil has even said; that maybe if Phil didn't go up against Tiger in his prime, he would have won more majors, but he always said that Tiger brought out the best in him."

Here is the exact quote from Mickelson three years ago

"In the last five or six years, I've had some pretty good success head-to-head (against Woods) and I feel like he brings out the best golf in me," said Mickelson. "He's a great motivator for me. He's helped me work hard. He's helped me put forth the effort to try to compete at the highest level year-in, year-out, and I've loved competing against him.

"He's really brought the best out of me, especially when we've been paired together, and I hope that we are able to play together for many more years."

That's good stuff. A rising tide lifts all boats. And McIlroy should know. His tear in 2014 spurred on Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and others. McIlroy said he would still love one classic. against Woods in the future.

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

Yes, maybe one day. Maybe one clear April day in a few years when Woods has put much of his scar tissue behind him and McIlroy is gunning for Arnold Palmer and Gary Player and their major win totals. Maybe Woods and McIlroy on the back nine on a Sunday at the Masters reminding us why golf is great and why they're two of the greatest of all time. 

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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