Continued from page 1

Woods again had McIlroy’s number when playing together, even though Boy Wonder is winning more trophies. Woods has posted the lower score in four of the five rounds they have played together in the playoffs. The exception was Crooked Stick, when McIlroy opened with a 64 and Woods had a 65.

Woods, as usual, didn’t read too much into that.

“I enjoy playing with Rory,” he said. “He’s a great kid. Over the years, there are certain pairings for me that I’ve enjoyed, and Rory is one of them.”

Meanwhile, Jack Nicklaus weighed in on Norman’s comments to FoxSports.com. Nicklaus was told about the “intimidating” remarks during a radio interview with ESPN 980 in Washington and said playfully, “Quiet, Greg. Quiet. Down boy.”

“I think Tiger has a lot of wins left in him,” Nicklaus said. “He does have a lot more competition. During the couple of years when Tiger wasn’t really there, all of a sudden you have Rory McIlroy, Keegan Bradley and I could probably name a half-dozen other guys that have all won and learned how to win in Tiger’s absence. They’re not scared of him anymore.”

McIlroy gets most of the attention because he has won four times this year, all of them with Woods in the field, including his second eight-shot win in a major.

At East Lake, the edge goes to Woods.

Woods has three runner-up finishes and a win the last four times he has played at East Lake, a course he likes because of the traditional look to it.

“Trouble is just right there in front of you,” Woods said. “It’s very simple, but it’s hard. It’s rare that you see guys go low here, but it’s very simple. Really, not a lot of trouble out here, but guys just have a hard time getting it low out there.”

Woods holed a 20-foot birdie putt on the second hole and stuffed a wedge into 5 feet on the third to get on track. He made bogey from the bunker on No. 4, and took another bogey on the 14th when his drive sailed into the rough. The Bermuda grass isn’t high, but it’s thin enough for the ball to sink to the bottom and make it difficult to reach the green, much less keep it on the green.

McIlroy didn’t feel he was at a disadvantage playing the Tour Championship for the first time. He saw the course as Woods did — keep it in play, keep the ball below the hole.

“I felt like I hit the ball pretty good,” McIlroy said. “So just go out there tomorrow and try to play the same way, and maybe hole a few more putts and turn what I shot today into something in the mid-60s.”