McIlroy new face of game, but don't compare to Tiger

Tue Apr 7, 2015 6:22pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Major champion and former winning U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger says Rory McIlroy has a winning personality and is becoming the face of golf, but should not be compared to the game's latest king, Tiger Woods.

"I don’t think Rory can ever beat Tiger," Azinger told Reuters on Tuesday under Augusta National's massive oak tree in front of the clubhouse as players set off for Masters practice.

"I don’t think anyone can ever do what Tiger did. That level of domination is something that no one ever saw coming or expected to ever see again. I don’t expect to see anybody do what Tiger did and I think that’s an unfair bar for Rory."

That said, the 25-year-old McIlroy is on the brink of becoming second youngest, behind Woods, to register a career grand slam, needing a Masters win to complete the set and join Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Woods.

McIlroy has won the last two majors to bring his total to four. Woods has 14 and Nicklaus tops the list with 18.

"Rory is rapidly becoming the most famous guy in the game," said Azinger, the 1993 PGA Championship winner, adding that part of McIlroy's broad appeal is his down to earth personality.

MCILROY APPEAL   Continued...

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits off the 12th tee during his practice round ahead of the 2015 Masters at Augusta National Golf Course in Augusta, Georgia April 7, 2015.   REUTERS/Jim Young