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Agencies | Updated:2013-04-11 11:06Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland watches his tee shot on the 12th hole during a practice round in preparation for the 2013 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, April 10, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]AUGUSTA, Georgia – Golf fans have drooled in anticipation of a one-two rivalry between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, but the mop-topped Northern Irishman said on Tuesday that talk was premature.”I dont see myself a rival to Tiger or to anyone,” McIlroy said on Tuesday before a practice round at Augusta National ahead of Thursdays opening round of the Masters.McIlroy, proclaiming himself 100 percent comfortable with his golf swing and new clubs, could overtake a resurgent Woods and reclaim the world number one ranking at the Masters, but the 23-year-old Northern Irishman reminded everyone he is still early on his golf journey.”When you speak of rivals, you tend to put rivals who have had similar success,” said McIlroy. “Hes got 77 PGA Tour events. Ive got six. Hes got 14 majors. Ive got two.”If I saw myself a rival to Tiger, I wouldnt really be doing him much justice.”However, McIlroy made it plain he was eager to work on bridging the numbers gap starting this week at the first major championship of the year.”Every time you come here to Augusta, youre wanting to win that green jacket, and every time you dont its another chance missed,” said McIlroy, who admitted that anything less than a win would be a disappointment.Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland (R) and his girlfriend, tennis player Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, stand together during the annual Masters Par 3 Contest at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, April 10, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]McIlroy started the year with an equipment change, a struggle to find his swing and a roundly criticised walk-off the course in frustration at the Honda Classic.Determined to turn his season around in time for the Masters, McIlroy made a difficult decision to cancel a scheduled philanthropic trip to Haiti in order to work on his game at last weeks Texas Open and suddenly it all came together for him.A final-round 66 and a second place finish in San Antonio bolstered his confidence coming into the Masters.”It was tough, because golf sometimes is a selfish sport and sometimes you have to do whats right for yourself,” McIlroy said about bowing out of a scheduled two-day trip to Haiti in his role as a UNICEF ambassador.”I knew I was letting a lot of people down with my decision to go to San Antonio … I made a couple of tough phone calls. But I felt like it was the best way for me to prepare for this week.”McIlroy came away from San Antonio satisfied he was ready to challenge now at his “favorite tournament of the year.””Im very comfortable and Im 100 percent there,” proclaimed McIlroy about getting used to his new clubs. “I feel like they are a part of me now and thats the way a golf club should be.”Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland (R) reacts as his girlfriend, tennis player Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, gives him a club during the annual Masters Par 3 Contest at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, April 10, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]Previous Page1 2 3 Next PagePrevious Page1 2 3 Next PageRelated StoriesMcIlroy suddenly in striking distanceMental mistakes plague McIlroys Masters tune-upMcIlroy makes poor start to Houston OpenMcIlroy more into Masters prep than reclaiming No 1Vonns boyfriend tries to dethrone No 1 McIlroyTseng understands McIlroys frustration at the topMcIlroy pulls out of PGA with toothacheMcIlroy, Woods eliminated at Match PlayMcIlroys next job: Dont let clubs turn him into DuvalMcIlroy voted player of the yearMcIlroy masterful in DubaiWozniacki has sweet wagerWozniacki spotted with McIlroys family at Dubai OpenMcIlroy says top-seeded girlfriend is inspirationPhotoEnglish champion Leicester fires Ranieri as relegation loomsYao Ming elected chief of Chinese Basketball AssociationMan Dandan wins Chinas first gold at Asian Winter GamesNo defense allowed as West beats East in All-Star gameDenver Nuggets stun Golden WarriorsCity overcomes Gabriel Jesus injury, beats Bournemouth 2-0Most PopularHighlightsIbrahimovic scores twice to earn Manchester United fifth League CupRonaldinho, Barca boost Chinas grand ambitionsNew CBA head Yao says reform is priorityWhats HotIbrahimovic scores twice to earn Manchester United fifth League CupSpecialRio 2016 Olympic Games2016 Chinese F1 Grand Prix in ShanghaiShanghai Rolex MastersIAAF World Championships Beijing 2015BACK TO THE TOPHOMECHINAWORLDBUSINESSLIFESTYLECULTURETRAVELWATCHTHISSPORTSOPINIONREGIONALFORUMNEWSPAPERChina Daily PDFChina Daily E-paperMOBILECopyright 1995 -var oTime = new Date();
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