McIlroy on rivalry comments: 'What Brooks said wasn’t wrong'

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Rory McIlroy said Brooks 'wasn't wrong' about the dismissive comments Koepka made last week about a rivalry between the pair

Rory McIlroy took time out mid-round during the MGM Resorts The Challenge: Japan Skins to address the dismissive comments World No.1 Brooks Koepka made last week about a rivalry between the two players.

Prior to his injury and withdrawl at last week's CJ Cup, Koepka had told the AFP: “I’ve been out here for, what, five years. Rory hasn't won a major since I’ve been on the PGA Tour...So I just don’t view it as a rivalry."

But when he was asked about it during the 12th hole of the Skins match, McIlroy didn't seem annoyed by Koepka's response. 

“I think it’s hard,” McIlroy said. “We all get asked about it in press conferences, about other players where it’s ‘Why are these guys asking me about someone else? Aren’t we supposed to be here to talk about me?’

"And what Brooks said wasn’t wrong. He’s been the best player for a couple years, four majors. I don’t think he had to remind me I hadn’t won one in a while, but you know."

It's understandable why the comparison has been drawn. They are ranked number one and two in the World, both won three times on Tour this year, are just a year apart in age, and have four majors each to their name.

They also found themselves grouped together recently in the final rounds of both the WGC FedEx St Jude Invitational and the Tour Championship, and while Koepka convincingly earned his first WGC, it was McIlroy who won the PGA Tour's final event of the season to claim the $15million reward at East Lake.

“I said a couple of things after the Tour Championship in terms of I approached that final round like a little bit of a rivalry because he got one over on me at Memphis and I sort of wanted to get him back,” he continued. “I think that’s good for the game.”

“I think if you take what Brooks said out of context, then obviously it can be this big thing that it had become. But Brooks and I are good. We’re good friends. I’ve been really happy for him to see how good he’s played the last couple of years. And I’m sure he’ll continue to do so just like we’re all trying to play as good as we can.”

McIlroy finished tied for 2nd at The Challenge with Tiger Woods, as Jason Day won under the lights with a final hole birdie.