The Loop

"Better than a young Tiger Woods"

January 29, 2009

Rory McIlroy, 19, opened the Dubai Desert Classic with an eight-under par 64 that placed him in the lead and drew accolades from Mark O'Meara, who was asked the obligatory questions about comparisons with Tiger Woods at a similar age.

O'Meara, who shot 77 playing alongside McIlroy on Thursday, told the Scotsman, "Ball-striking wise at 19, he's probably better than what Tiger was at 19. His technique I think is better. Certainly Tiger has developed his game and swing over the years and made modifications to be able to hit the ball pin-high, but Rory is already doing that and he's 19, so he's already a step ahead."

The Scotsman headline stated that "McIlroy is better than a young Tiger Woods."

Comparisons are entertaining, but seldom revealing. Woods did not make a cut in a PGA Tour event until he was 19, when he tied for 41st in the Masters, and he did not contend in a tour event until he was a few months shy of his 21st birthday.

-- John Strege