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McIlroy paid his respects to Woods, his new BFF.

They have been inseparable in recent weeks, partly because their position in the FedEx Cup puts them in the same group for the opening rounds of these playoff events, though it goes beyond the golf course. One week, Woods was waiting in the back of the interview room as McIlroy finished up. Two weeks later, it was McIlroy who sat it the back of the room listening to Woods. They did a TV interview together after their opening round at Crooked Stick, then headed off to lunch together.

Woods raves about him, and even in defeat Sunday, he conceded that McIlroy was “putting on a show out there.”

“He’s going out there and is up near the lead and posts a good number,” said Woods, who finished two shots behind McIlroy in Boston and three shots back in Indianapolis. “He’s doing the things he needs to do. He’s feeling very confident about his game. Right now, he’s just really playing well, and he’s making a ton of putts.”

It’s the first time in his career that Woods has finished within three shots of the lead in consecutive events won by the same player. In the 14 tournaments they have both played this year, McIlroy has finished ahead in nine of them, including a 4-1 edge in wins.

McIlroy picked up his sixth career PGA Tour win, joining Woods (15) and Jack Nicklaus (8) as the only players since 1960 to win that many at age 23. McIlroy still has about eight months to go before turning 24. Better yet, he has four years to go before deciding which flag to carry at the Olympics.

For the moment, he belongs to the world.

“I receive huge support from both Irish and British sports fans alike and it is greatly appreciated,” McIlroy said in his letter. “Likewise, I feel like I have a great affinity with American sports fans. … As an international sportsman, I am very lucky to be supported by people all over the world, many of who treat me as one of their own, no matter what their nationality, or indeed mine. This is the way sport should be.”