Rory McIlroy would love a singles showdown with Tiger Woods in October’s Ryder Cup.
Recovered from his US PGA disappointment, McIlroy said: “I’m sure we’ll probably see him in Wales. I would love to face him.
“Unless his game rapidly improves…I think anyone in the European team would fancy their chances against him.
“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.”
US skipper Corey Pavin hinted yesterday that he would be handing Woods one of his four wildcards on September 7.
McIlroy said: “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.”
When asked about the pros and cons of picking Woods, Pavin said: “Well, he’s the No. 1 player in the world. Obviously I’m considering him highly, no doubt about it.
“He’s playing better. I think we have all seen that and he wants to play, he wants to be a part of the team. But it’s going to be my judgment whether I pick him or not.
“I don’t think there’s any cons.”
The American captain was full of praise for Dustin Johnson, who lost out on a chance to make a playoff for the US PGA when he was penalised two shots for grounding his club in a bunker.
Pavin said: “The ruling was what the ruling was - I think it was the proper ruling. The one thing that I will remember from this more than anything is the way Dustin handled himself.
“He was very mature - I couldn’t imagine a player handling it any better than he did.”
Leading going into the final round of the US Open at Pebble Beach, Johnson shot 82 to lose out to Graeme McDowell and McIlroy reckons his former Walker Cup rival has been unlucky this season.
Referring to Johnson’s bunker boob, McIlroy said: “If I was in that situation, I might have made the same mistake. It didn’t look like a bunker. It was just a bit of a sandy area.
“It was unfortunate. He probably should have won two majors this year. He broke the rules. He grounded the club. But I think it’s a stupid rule. There are a lot of stupid rules in golf but that’s the way it is.
“It’s so unfortunate. He’s such a good player. The way he bounced back from the US Open and put himself into contention again in a major shows that he will win majors in the future.”
Padraig Harrington will need a Ryder Cup wildcard and Pavin knows that Colin Montgomerie also faces some tough wildcard choices.
Referring to his dilemma over Woods when asked about Harrington, Pavin said: “I guess you can flip that question around to someone on our side, too. Golf is a funny game. The game goes away, comes back; it waffles.
“I think Pádraig is a great player. The guy’s won three major championships. He would be a very good pick, but I don’t pick for that side. So it’s a tough choice for him.”