Norman - "Tiger will not be the same again"

Woods looks pensive in Dubai earlier this year. Pic: Fran Caffrey/golffile.ieAussie legend Greg Norman believes Rory McIlroy is ready to fill the void as Tiger Woods fades as a major force.

The Great White Shark is one of McIlroy’s biggest fans, hailing him as the heir apparent to the late Spanish genius Seve Ballesteros.

And with Woods in a race to be fit for the Open at Sandwich next week, Norman sees the Holywood star as the future of the game.

Speaking in Oman, where designing a new course, Norman told local media: “I personally feel that with a spate of injuries and his other problems, Tiger will not be the same again. Upcoming golfers will not be intimidated by Tiger anymore.”

The Shark watched McIlroy destroy the opposition at Congressional and reckons the game has a replacement for Seve, who died in May.

Norman said: “Europe lost a genius this year (in Seve) but has found his replacement. Pure genius and a display of the most natural golf ability we’ve seen in a very, very long time.”

Two-time Open champion Norman blew his share of majors and was one of the first to offer McIlroy advice following his Masters meltdown in April.

The former world No 1 told McIlroy to give up reading golf magazines and newspapers and to stop watching golf on TV.

“He’s a class act,” Norman said.