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Woods and McIlroy ready for Dubai Duel
Now Nike stable-mates, the two most prominent golfers in the world are ready to start off the season with a bang in Dubai, as Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods begin what could become a rivalry for the ages in the Middle East.

Living a stone's throw apart in Florida and both on multi-million dollar contracts from their sports giant sponsor, the potential for a series of titanic and appetite whetting clashes is obvious.

However world's top two ranked golfers have yet to face each other on a Sunday with it all in the balance, and are keen to downplay the competition.

''It would be similar to saying that I had a rivalry with Phil (Mickelson) two years into my career. That wasn't the case. It takes time,'' Woods said on Tuesday. "Over the course of my career, I've gone head-to-head against Ernie (Els) and Vijay (Singh) the most, and that has happened over 17 years. But it takes time. Certainly, we've done it once at Honda. . .

 "We really haven't had the amount of matches or head-to-head duels I've had with Phil and Vijay and Ernie," said Woods. "But then again, it's only been a few years. Let's give it time and see how it pans out.''

"I don't know if you can call it a rivalry yet because we haven't battled each other down the stretch of a major,'' McIlroy added. ''It's not like we've been playing in the final group of a tournament and we are battling each other. Hopefully, at some point, that can happen this year. And it would be great to be part of that.''

However despite the cool words, neither golfer will restrain their natural competitiveness or will to win.

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