Woods, Mickelson just getting older: McIlroy
12 September, 2014
ATLANTA: World number one Rory McIlroy is not convinced the absence of both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson from the US PGA Tour Championship signals a changing of the guard in golf.
But the 25-year-old reigning PGA Championship and British Open champion noted the passing years for Mickelson, 44, and Woods, who turns 39 in December.
"They are just getting older," said McIlroy. "Phil is 43 or something and Woods is nearly 40. So they are just getting into sort of the last few holes of their careers and that's what happens. It obviously just gets harder as you get older.
"I'll be able to tell you in 20 years how it feels."
It is the first time since 1992 that the Tour Championship is being played without either Woods or Mickelson in the field, but McIlroy believes they are far from finished, citing Mickelson's runner-up place at last month's PGA Championship and an injury-marred season for Woods.
"When he gets back to full fitness you will see him here," predicted McIlroy.
Northern Ireland's McIlroy is among five playoff points leaders in the field of 29 who can win the $10 million playoff crown by capturing the tournament which began Thursday, the others being Americans Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, Chris Kirk and Billy Horschel.
"Anything other than a win here would be a disappointment," said McIlroy.
McIlroy still has the Ryder Cup in two weeks in Scotland and stops in Bermuda, Dubai, China and Australia before ending his 2014 campaign - a global workout that already has him pondering a cutback from 26 events to between 20 and 23 in 2015.