Lee Westwood's advice for Rory McIlroy

March, 1, 2011

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Ah, youth.

That's what Lee Westwood seemed to be saying Tuesday about his friend Rory McIlroy, whose assessment of Tiger Woods in a first-person account for a golf website is causing attention for its honesty.

"I'll have a word with Rory later," Westwood quipped.

Here is part of what McIlroy wrote.

"I'm not sure we are going to see him dominate again the way he did," McIlroy said of Woods. "It's not that he's playing badly. He's playing badly by Tiger's standards. He's playing like an ordinary golfer."

Woods is enduring the longest stretch of his career without a victory, and his game has been under immense scrutiny, even more so in the wake of a one-and-done appearance at last week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

McIlroy, 21, also said that he "wasn't playing against Tiger when he had that aura."

"That's the answer that a 21-year-old would give," Westwood said. "A 37-year-old is a little wiser. ... I've been playing with Tiger since 1997.

"There's an old saying that class is permanent and form is fickle. He's the classiest player I've ever played with, and I'm wise enough to know not to write him off. I've seen him play poorly and win tournaments."

Westwood replaced Woods late last year atop the Official World Golf Rankings. After 17 weeks, Westwood relinquished the No. 1 spot this week to Germany's Martin Kaymer. Woods has dropped to No. 5, tying his lowest standing since after his historic victory at the 1997 Masters.

Westwood and McIlroy are playing in this week's Honda Classic.

Bob Harig covers golf for ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.

Bob Harig | email

ESPN Senior Writer



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