MX23RW : Tuesday, September 18 20:01:49

Tiger Woods: 'Rory McIlroy is on his way back'

Tiger Woods backs Rory McIlroy to re-find the form that took him to number one in the world rankings.

Tiger Woods has said that Rory McIlroy is showing signs that his game is coming back together at the end of a frustrating 2013 season.

The Northern Irishman, coming off the back of arguably his best year in 2012, is yet to record a victory on the Tour this year, and has subsequently slipped from first to sixth in the rankings.

McIlroy changed to Nike equipment in a multi-million deal at the start of the season, while he has also been involved in a legal dispute with former management team Horizon.

Woods, who has returned to the top of the rankings with five wins this year, believes that these "off-the-course" distractions may have a bearing on the 24-year-old's poor season.

"I think he's had a lot of change not only in his game, but off-the-course management, sponsorships," Woods told reporters. "He's had a lot of things going on this year.

"He hasn't played as well as he has in prior years, but he's still ranked pretty high. I think he's either fifth or sixth in the world. A lot of guys don't even get that high.

"I think give him a little bit more time, I think he's starting to put the pieces together, starting to play a little bit more. He showed some really good signs towards the end of the season that the things he's working on are starting to come together."

The media's focus has also been on McIleoy's private life due to his relationship with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.

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Rory McIlroy in action during the third day of the PGA Championship on August 10, 2013
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