Tiger Woods backs Rory McIlroy to return to winning ways before year is out
Tiger Woods has tipped Rory McIlroy to get back to winning ways before the year is out.
Last Updated: 30/10/13 11:00am
Having finished a hugely successful 2012 as the undisputed World No.1, McIlroy has endured a much tougher time of things this time around following his much-publicised equipment switch.
But there have been signs in recent weeks that the 24-year-old is poised to turn the corner, including a victory over Woods in an exhibition match in China earlier in the week.
On that day McIlroy produced a flawless 66 to beat the man who has replaced him at the top of the world rankings and Woods believes the Northern Irishman's form is firmly on the up.
"He is playing better and swinging a lot better," the American said. "You can see that some of the stuff he and his coach are working on is starting to come together.
"He's starting to put together a few good rounds, now he just has to make a few more putts. I can definitely see him winning sometime this year because his game has come around."
Meanwhile, Woods admitted that he and McIlroy have forged a firm friendship in recent times.
Both men are now based in Florida and have sponsorship deals with Nike, while their status as the highest-profile players in the game mean they have often been grouped together at events.
"Rory has become a good friend of mine over probably the past year, year and a half," explained Woods.
"It seems like every tournament we're paired together, we're also playing practice rounds together and we have really hit it off.
"He plays on both tours, US and European, so we see each other at big events and when we do we try and play practice rounds whenever we can."