Rory McIlroy has rounded on golf's over-enthusiastic fans and claimed Tiger Woods is operating at a "two-shot disadvantage" to the rest of the field because of the "circus" that surrounds his competitive appearances.

McIlroy played alongside Woods as the 42-year-old missed the cut at the Genesis Open in California.

The Ulsterman has every sympathy for the former world No 1 and hopes that the distracting clamour is a "novelty" because this was only Woods's second performance in more than a year after back surgery.

"It might always have been like this, like the whole Tiger-mania and these dudes, but I swear, playing in front of all that, he gives up half a shot a day on the field," McIlroy said.


"Like, it's two shots a tournament he has to give because of all that goes on around. So whether that calms down the more he plays and it doesn't become such a novelty that he's back playing again, I don't know. But it's tiring. I need a couple Advil. I've got a headache after all that."

When asked to elaborate, McIlroy said: "You've got a six-foot putt and they'll shout, 'It doesn't break as much as you think,' just stuff like that - stuff they don't have to say.

"Whoever is teeing off at 8.30 in the morning doesn't get that and can just go about his business and do his thing. That's tough. Tiger has to deal with that every single time that he goes out to play a round."

Woods concurred with McIlroy, claiming that he would have even more than his 106 professional wins otherwise. "It has cost me a lot of shots over the years," he said.

"What people don't realise, it's not just something that happens on Sunday afternoon - this is cumulative and it's par for the course.''