The Northern Irishman and world No 2 was delighted to see that his childhood hero back in the winner’s enclosure for the first time in two years, when the American won the Chevron World Challenge in California on Sunday.
McIlroy is the only player at this week’s Dubai World Championship who can beat Luke Donald to becoming European golf’s order of merit winner after a superb season, which saw him claim the US Open in June.
But the 22-year-old’s rise has coincided with Woods’ decline, caused by injury and his off the course problems.
“Tiger winning again appeals to me because it would be a challenge (to take him on),” said McIlroy. “You want to test yourself against the best in the game and, if I came up against Tiger on a Sunday, it would be the biggest challenge of my career.
“It’s something I would look forward to. It would be a huge experience and learning curve for me, in terms of how I would handle it.
“It’s not something I have experienced, or players or my generation have experienced, so it would be great to have that opportunity at some point next year.”