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Posted at 10:44 AM ET, 09/21/2012

Tiger Woods tops “The Intimidator” — Rory McIlroy — for one day

Tiger Woods was the one looking back at Rory McIlroy on Thursday. (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

If Tiger Woods is, as Greg Norman said the other day, intimidated by Rory McIlroy, he gave no sign of it in the first round of the Tour Championship.

Of course, it was only Thursday. Three more days of golf await and Woods, who shot a four-under 66 and shares the lead with Justin Rose, has typically faded on weekends this year.

The big story, though, was the “reunited and it feels so good” pairing of Woods and McIlroy, who’ve shared the first two rounds at the Barclays and the BMW. Woods got the better of McIlroy, who shot a 69 and the two golfers were comfortable together, relaxed and chatty as they walked the East Lake Golf Club course in Atlanta. Maybe that’ll change if they’re battling for the FedEx Cup bonus on Sunday, but there was no sign of it Thursday.

(David Goldman / AP)
Woods, pursuing his fourth victory of the year, was giving nothing away after outperforming the kid he jokingly called “The Intimidator” on Wednesday. “I played well today. It was a very consistent round. I hit the ball well and made some putts. I got up and down a few times.”

And McIlroy, who has five victories this season and four in his last five starts? Well, the whippersnapper has a gift for the deft, disarming little jab. “As you could see out there today, he’s definitely not intimidated by me,” McIlroy said with a laugh, “and I don’t think I’m intimidated by him.”

With any luck, the two will face each other soon in Ryder Cup play as well. But first things first. Coming down the stretch together Sunday with that $10 million bonus on the line would be some kind of fun.

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By  |  10:44 AM ET, 09/21/2012

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