From Brian Keogh in Dubai
Tiger Woods has become the latest member of the Rory McIlroy fan club.
The world No 1 revealed that while hasn’t had a chance to talk the talk with the Holywood hotshot, he knows he can walk the walk after watching his “impressive” major championship debut at the Open last year.
McIlroy outscored Woods by a shot in the opening round at Carnoustie and went on to win the amateur silver medal.
And Woods has urged the teenager, 18, to keep working hard now that he has joined the pro ranks.
Bidding from his sixth win from his last seven starts in this week’s Dubai Desert Classic, Woods said: "I met Rory yesterday in the charity challenge but we didn't spend a whole lot of time together as we were competing in different groups.
"He did impress me with what he did at the British Open last year and you can see he's got the talent the way he played at Carnoustie, how he held up.
"I haven't followed his career since he's turned pro but he's now out here and he's now a professional.
"And you know, it's just a matter of improving and maturing as a player."
Dane Thomas Bjorn, 36, wishes he was McIlroy's age so he could test his game against the world No 1.
Bjorn said: “I would love to be Rory McIlroy right now, growing up with Tiger as the best in the world and have him to measure yourself against him.
"I don't think we have seen the best of Tiger yet, which is a pretty scary thought. He is the greatest sporting icon in the world. It is great for the game."
Woods is the red-hot favourite to lift the Dubai title for the second time this week.
And while he insists his goal is to win the Grand Slam this year, he knows he will need luck on his side.
Woods explained: “It’s about playing well at the right times. It’s about getting lucky, actually.
“You have to have everything go your way. You can play well and still not have it happen.
“The only thing I can control is my own lay and hopefully I can have it peak at the right time, four times this year and hopefully it will be good enough.”