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Tiger out to sink claws into mouthy McIlroy.

Tiger Woods has hit back in his row with Rory McIlroy, telling the young European mudslinger that he's itching to tame him.

McIlroy apparently angered the world No.1 when he stated he fancied his chances against Woods in the singles on Sunday, even going as far as saying most of the European team would like to have a go. And, although the Northern Irishman has since made it clear that he was speaking after Woods had just shot 18-over at last month's WGC Bridgestone Invitational - his worst total score since turning professional in 1996 - Tiger is keen to tame the cheeky cub at Celtic Manor this weekend.

When asked about McIlroy's comments confirming he'd like to go head-to-head with Woods, the Californian responded: "Me too." And he is alleged to have told the 21-year-old star to "be careful what you wish for" in the locker room of the BMW Championship earlier this month.

However, McIlroy hasn't exactly shied away from courting Tiger's thunder, admitting this week that "after what's happened in the last 18 months, I suppose a little bit of that (Tiger's) aura is probably gone".

Meanwhile, Zach Johnson insists wildcard Woods, who has struggled on the course since the scandal that rocked his private life, will have the game to help the US retain the trophy.

"Tiger is just as focused as he has always been. He is always focused," the 2007 Masters champion said. "He is a very determined individual with his golf clubs. I haven't seen anything different this week.

"The best thing Tiger said leading up to this is the fact that he wants to be here, and that has been very evident on the golf course and in the team room." And Stewart Cink reinforced the support for Woods, although he admitted Woods' talents can sometimes backfire on him.

"The opponents know that they have to be at their best to beat the great Tiger Woods," Cink said.

"In Ryder Cup play, we have seen it countless times how wonderful the level of play is. Guys just find an extra gear. Tiger's been beaten by that sometimes.

But you know, he's a human being, too.

"The guy has been through a whole lot recently, and he still had a relatively good record compared to most players that were in consideration for picks. "And he had some top-five finishes in Majors and he played consistently down the stretch, even though he was not spectacular. He's still ranked No.1 in the world - yeah, I would have picked him."

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Sep 30, 2010
Words:437
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