- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 28, 2010

NEWPORT, WALES (AP) - The Ryder Cup is getting personal for Tiger Woods.

Interrupting an otherwise dull press conference Tuesday, Woods fired back at a comment Rory McIlroy made six weeks ago that “I would love to face” the world’s No. 1 player in the Ryder Cup unless his game rapidly improved.

Asked for a reaction, Woods leaned into the microphone and said only, “Me, too.”

The quote from McIlroy _ the closest thing to bulletin board material at Celtic Manor _ came the week after Woods‘ golf reached a low point in a dismal season. He had the highest score of his career and beat only one player in the 80-man field at Firestone.

McIlroy was not worried that he had given Woods or the U.S. team any more motivation.

“I’m fine. I’m all right,” said the 21-year-old from Northern Ireland. “You’ve got to realize, I said those things the week after he had just shot 18 over at Akron, so he wasn’t playing too well at the time.”

Woods was aware of the comment before arriving in Wales.

He mentioned the quote two weeks ago at Cog Hill while talking about Stephen Ames, whom Woods had beaten 9 and 8 in the Match Play Championship after Ames was quoted making fun of Woods‘ accuracy.

“At least Rory said, ‘Unless my game improves,’” Woods said in Chicago.

There also were stories circulating at Cog Hill that Woods had said to McIlroy upon passing him, “Careful what you wish for.” McIlroy, however, denied that ever happened.

The singles matches on Sunday, which decide the Ryder Cup, are a long way off. And because it’s a blind draw, there is no guarantee Woods and McIlroy would play each other.

Singles rarely has been a problem for Woods or the other top American players. Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk _ the core of the U.S. team since 1997 _ collectively have won 125 times on the PGA Tour, including 19 majors.

That hasn’t carried over into the Ryder Cup.

In singles, they are 10-6-2, with Woods and Furyk losing only once. In fourballs and foursome matches, with different partners in the 18 Ryder Cups they have played, that trio is 18-34-9.

Maybe that explains why they all have losing records, and have played on losing teams.

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