Rory McIlroy Is Close To Tiger Woods At His Best Says Olazabal.

European Ryder Cup captain, Jose Maria Olazabal has compared his main strike player, Rory McIlroy with USA Team rival, Tiger Woods.

McIlroy arrived in Chicago with a virtualy ‘bulls eye’ on his back given having won the recent PGA Championship and then two of the four FedEx Cup Series.

Rory McIlroy is just as good as Tiger Woods says European Team captain, Jose Maria Olazabal. (Photo – Fran Caffrey/

However Olazabal has responded to those claims McIlroy is a walking target for all the American team.”Obviously we have the world number one, he’s playing great,” said Olazabal.

“Even though he didn’t win the FedEx Cup, the way he’s played the last few months, he’s been outstanding.

“I would say that he is at this moment very close to how good Tiger was at that stretch of time between 1999 and 2002, the way he’s playing. He’s full of confidence.

“He’s got the whole game and in that regard it’s great to have players like that on your team.”

It was just recently that double Open winner, Greg Norman stirred the scenario suggesting Woods no longer intimidates his rivals, including McIlroy.

However Woods played down the scenario suggesting it comes with the territory.

“It’s part of being consistent,” said Woods.

“It’s part of being ranked number one, it’s part of winning major championships. You’re always going to want to try and take out their best player, and that’s just part of the deal. That’s a fun challenge.

“I certainly have relished it over the years and I’m sure he’s going to relish it this week.”

And Olazabal was asked if he thought the fact that so many Europeans were now competing full-time in the US negated any ‘home ground’ advantage.

“Well, the home‑course advantage is not just the course itself,” said Olazabal.

“There is other elements that are as important as the golf course, and I’m talking obviously about the crowds.  The crowds are going to be huge.

“I know they are going to be loud and very strong in their support to the U.S. Team. But going back to the golf course, when you look back, I don’t know, 20 years, 25 years ago, obviously we were not all that familiar with these type of set‑up courses, the speeds on the greens, the firmness of the greens.

“And nowadays, because most of those players are playing here regularly, you know, I don’t feel that the course itself, the course setup, is such an advantage.”

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