Oct 28 (Reuters) - World number one Rory McIlroy could have a slight edge when he faces Tiger Woods in an 18-hole medal match in China on Monday, having played two holes at the Jinsha Lake course last year.
McIlroy will have a point to prove when the world’s top two meet in Zhengzhou after being crushed by six strokes by Woods in the World Golf Final in Turkey the week after the Ryder Cup.
“We had an awesome time last year,” said the 23-year-old, who played the 10th and 11th holes on a whistle-stop visit to the course in 2011, in a statement released by the organisers.
“I‘m looking forward to playing all 18 holes and spending a bit more time at the club,” added the Northern Irishman, who has long been a fan of 14-times major winner Woods.
“Tiger was a hero of mine growing up and having watched him on TV doing all these incredible things, it’s now pretty cool to be get to know him personally and play against him.”
Woods and McIlroy experienced an emotional rollercoaster at the Ryder Cup earlier this month, when Europe came storming back from 10-6 down to pinch the trophy from under American noses.
Both players come into the 18-hole shootout in sparkling form, McIlroy finishing runner-up on Sunday in the BMW Masters in Shanghai and Woods joint fourth in Malaysia.
McIlroy captured his second major at this year’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island by a record eight shots, to establish himself as the man to beat.
“We’ll both probably be a little bit tired,” Woods said after closing with a round of 63 at the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur.
“I hit a bunch of good shots,” added the 36-year-old. “I just had one little bad stretch yesterday. Other than that, I really played well this week.”
Woods, who held the world number one ranking for a record 623 weeks, appeared fired-up for his lake-side showdown with the new top dog in men’s golf.
“Rory and I have both been competing in Asia this week, so we’re pretty acclimated,” Woods said. “Recently we’ve played a lot together and it’s been fun, but nothing like this.” (Reporting by Alastair Himmer in Tokyo; Additional reporting by Patrick Johnston in Kuala Lumpur; Editing by John O‘Brien)