The Masters 2014: Rory McIlroy vows to assume Tiger Woods role
The Masters 2014
- Venue: Augusta National
- Dates: 10-13 April
Coverage: Live BBC Two coverage on 12 April from 19:30 BST and on 13 April from 18:00 BST. Live Red Button, online and mobile coverage on 12 and 13 April plus highlights, previews and reaction on 11, 12 and 13 April. Daily live text and radio commentary.
Rory McIlroy says he is determined to fill the void left by Tiger Woods.
The American has withdrawn from the Masters after back surgery, leaving McIlroy arguably the biggest name on show at Augusta next week.
The 24-year-old said he expected "a little bit" more attention due to the absence of his friend and rival.
McIlroy on Woods
“I didn't realise it was so serious that he needed surgery”
The Northern Irishman added he would like to dominate the game like Woods, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson had done in the past.
"Golf's in a funny place at the minute," McIlroy told BBC Sport ahead of this week's Houston Open.
"You are getting so many different winners and there are not as many guys dominating the sport like in the past with Tiger, Vijay and Phil.
"I'd like to establish myself as that sort of player and someone's got to step up, so I'm trying to be that person and it would be a great place to start next week."
Tiger Woods in 2014
- March: World Golf Championships - tied 25th
- March: The Honda Classic - withdrew after third round
- January-February: Omega Dubai Desert Classic - tied 41st
- January: Farmers Insurance Open - tied 80th, only completed three rounds
McIlroy said he was not shocked that Woods had pulled out of the year's first major.
"I knew that it was going to happen, but I didn't realise it was so serious that he needed surgery," he said. "Obviously everyone wishes him a speedy recovery and hopefully he gets back very soon because golf is better with Tiger Woods playing."
McIlroy has his own theories on why the 38-year-old Woods is proving so injury prone these days.
"He's had four operations on his left knee, he's had operations on his Achilles," said the world number seven. "It seems like his lower back has been maybe working a little harder than it should have, to compensate for the surgeries he's had in his lower body.
"So I think surgery is a good thing for him. He's got the best advice in the world so he will only come back when he's ready to play."