Rory McIlroy: No-cut rule helped Tiger Woods win so many WGCs

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At the pinnacle of his career, Tiger Woods dominated the World Golf Championships, winning an incredible 18 of them from 1999-2013. No other player is even remotely close to that tally, with Dustin Johnson and Geoff Ogilvy a distant T-2 with three each.

Rory McIlroy, who has two WGCs to his name, said Wednesday ahead of this week’s WGC-HSBC Champions that Woods was a beneficiary of the no-cut nature of the tournaments.

“Honestly, I think because of the no-cut format. I think that’s probably a big thing to do with it,” McIlroy said. “You get to play with a little more freedom. And I never want to criticize Tiger’s game at all, but if there was one thing or one negative thing you would say about him was that he probably wasn’t the fastest starter in the world in normal golf tournaments.”

Rory McIlroy is looking for a fourth win this year this week. (Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy is looking for a fourth win this year this week. (Getty Images)

Woods was a notorious slow starter, easing his way into tournaments before playing his best when the pressure was applied the most. The WGCs, in a sense, fit with Woods’ tournament approach. However, Woods never won the WGC-HSBC Champions. He did win the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational eight times, with the last one coming in 2013.

“I think just from the get-go, you don’t quite feel the pressure,” McIlroy said. “Even though you shouldn’t really be thinking about the cut or anything like that, but it is a little bit of a mental thing. But it takes weight off of you, and you can go and play just that little bit freer.”

Of course, McIlroy, who is switching to the TaylorMade M2 driver and fairway woods this week, has been criticized for these kinds of insightful comments in the past. So, to avoid any backlash for saying something that might run counter to the Woods canon, McIlroy made clear the top reason why Woods won 18 WGCs as part of his 79-win PGA Tour career.

“Can I just add one more thing to why he won so many? Because he was the best,” McIlroy said. “There’s another reason.”

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.