Rory McIlroy wants to face Tiger Woods
"I would love to face him," McIlroy said in an interview with the BBC on Monday. "Unless his game rapidly improves in the next month or so, I think anyone in the European team would fancy his chances against him."
McIlroy is not convinced that Woods, who failed to qualify for the Ryder Cup for the first time, deserves one of U.S. captain Corey Pavin's four wild-card picks but still expects the No. 1 golfer to be on the American team.
"There are a lot of American players playing better than him at the minute but it's always an advantage to have Tiger Woods in your team," McIlroy told the BBC. "I think he'll [Pavin] pick him. I don't think it would go down too well in the States if he wasn't picked."
On Monday, Pavin said that Woods is "high on my list" and will be a "big consideration" when he announces his selections Sept. 7.
"I'm looking at him in essence like any other player. He isn't ... but he is," Pavin said. "I'm certainly not going to disrespect other players by considering him different from other players. I have to look at the way he's playing, the way he played, and I have to look at his body of work as well. If anyone can turn it around quickly, it's him."
Woods stated plainly at the start of the week that he wants to play in the Ryder Cup and would accept a captain's pick.
Phil Mickelson led the points table for the first time followed by Hunter Mahan, PGA runner-up Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Jeff Overton and Matt Kuchar. Four of those players -- Watson, Johnson, Overton and Kuchar -- have never played a Ryder Cup. Stricker and Mahan played for the first time two years ago at Valhalla. Overton, meanwhile, became the first American to qualify for the Ryder Cup without having won on the PGA Tour.
Also missing from the list is Anthony Kim, the star of the American victory two years ago. Kim had thumb surgery in May, missed three months and has played poorly in the two tournaments since he returned.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
MORE GOLF HEADLINES
- Nicklaus would pick Tiger for Ryder Cup team
- Putnam, Petrovic share Canadian Open lead
- Taiwan sweeps U.S. at International Crown
- Langer leads British Senior by 2 after Round 1
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
38TH MATCHES AT CELTIC MANOR
In his career, the Ryder Cup has meant everything to Colin Montgomerie. That's why leading the Europeans to victory Monday as captain stands as a crowning achievement. Bob Harig | Championship CentralDate: Oct. 1-4, 2010
2010 champion: Europe
Course: Celtic Manor Twenty Ten Course
Where: Newport, Wales, United Kingdom
Rosters: United States | Europe