Tiger Woods wasn't intimidated. A day after dismissing former world No. 1 Greg Norman's remarks saying Woods was intimidated by current world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, Woods grabbed a share of the lead Thursday in the first round of the Tour Championship by Coca-Cola, the finale of the FedExCup Playoffs.
Playing with McIlroy in the day's final group -- and in front of the largest gallery, by a wide margin, that followed the featured pairing every step of the way at East Lake Golf Club -- Woods made six birdies in a 4-under-par 66 to move atop the leaderboard with Justin Rose. McIlroy came home with a 69.
Woods, who has won once and finished second in his last four starts at East Lake, and McIlroy needled each other throughout the round as they combined for nine birdies. They were paired for the eighth time in their careers -- and for the fifth time in the FedExCup playoffs -- and Woods improved to 6-2 against McIlroy.
"I enjoy playing with Rory. He's a great kid," said Woods, who captures a third FedExCup if he wins the Tour Championship. "Over the years there are certain pairings for me that I've enjoyed, and Rory is one of them."
McIlroy enjoyed it, too.
"I always say groupings like that, it's a great atmosphere, it's a great buzz, and I wish I could have shot a couple shots better," McIlroy said. "But I'm in a good position going into (today). I'll just go out there and give it my best again like I did today."
Woods and McIlroy have plenty of company on the leaderboard, and the course is set up in a way that favors a stampede to the finish Sunday instead of someone winning by daylight.
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