Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods at Doral earlier this month. Picture Fran Caffrey/www.golffile.ieGraeme McDowell believes that losing the No 1 ranking to Tiger Woods could be just the motivation Rory McIlroy needs to win the Masters.

According to Michael Veness in The Sun, McDowell said: “There’s no doubt it makes golf better with Tiger in this kind of form.

“He is the rightful favourite for The Masters — but it will also motivate Rory for sure.

“Rory’s been No 1 for a while and having this kind of challenge will definitely gee him up. When you’ve achieved many of your goals, your motivations disappear and this will help him refocus.”

Woods, who has a three stroke lead in the weather-disrupted Arnold Palmer Invitational with 16 holes still to complete on Monday, must win at Bay Hill to knock McIlroy off the top of the world rankings.

But McDowell reckons that might not be a bad thing:

“Not being No 1 might actually help Rory in the short term. It will give him a bit of a break from the spotlight and time to find his game again, so it may not be the worst thing in the world to happen to him.

“He will bounce back. He has too much talent and it sets things up for a great battle at the top week-to-week.”