Rory McIlroy texted Tiger Woods to congratulate him on world No 1 spot
Rory McIlroy has been happy to stay out of the spotlight for a week with Tiger Woods back to making all the headlines.
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH
Last Updated: 29/03/13 8:01am
Woods' win at Bay Hill lifted him back to the top of the rankings ahead of McIlroy - who had spent 32 weeks there but has endured a tough start to 2013.
McIlroy texted his new Nike team-mate to congratulate him on his win and world No 1 spot, to which Woods replied with a rallying call for the Northern Irishman to go out and win in Houston this week.
A Texas victory would put McIlroy back on top, but he insists he has been happy being away from the spotlight for a week and relaxing in Miami.
"People left me alone, it was fine," McIlroy said. "It's nice to just go, not just go about my business and no one cares, but you go about it and not be, I guess, the most talked about person in golf. It's a nice thing.
"We're not machines, we're humans. You're going to have patches where you play great and have patches where you struggle a little bit. I guess you've just got to take the rough and the smooth and just try and treat those times, sort of play and be patient and know that you're working on the right things."
Woods now leads the betting for the Masters in a fortnight, and although plenty of attention will still be on McIlroy at Augusta, he is happy for Tiger mania to take at least some of the heat off him.
"I didn't think I could go into the Masters under the radar," McIlroy said. "I can go in a little bit underneath him. So, in a way, it's not a bad thing."
If Woods can teach McIlroy anything, it will be how to battle and grind out a score and a tournament when not playing at his best.
"I've always said he's been one of the greatest fighters on a golf course," McIlroy said. "If things aren't going his way, he'll dig in and get whatever he can out of a round. He can repeat day-in, day-out, that attitude and that single-mindedness or that drive or motivation, I think that's his most impressive aspect."
McIlroy did show signs of life in his last competitive round at Doral when he shot 65 - his lowest score of the season, and he is determined to keep focused on improving.
"The weekend at Doral was great and the way I've been hitting the ball recently," he said. "I've just got to keep working on it and keep working on it. I definitely feel like it's going in the right direction."