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Awkward: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy will appear together on ‘The Tonight Show’

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In something that is just as likely to turn out to be a total train wreck as go off splendidly — if that makes sense — ESPN’s Bob Harig reports that Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, two titans of golf, will make a joint appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” on Monday.

The two have partnered up for the appearance as a result of their respective and lucrative affiliation with Nike, and both are scheduled to appear at Liberty National in Jersey City, New Jersey, the site of last  year’s Barclays tournament.

While little is known about whether or not the two superstars enjoy any kind of relationship away from the course, the two have enjoyed playful — and not so playful — exchanges, both in person and when using the media as a conduit to exchange subtle jabs. The two seem to be chummy on the course, photographed on several occasions yucking it up and appearing to have a good time.

Regardless, Monday’s appearance on late night will still be a unique pairing that should make for compelling theater, no matter which way it goes.

Obviously, McIlroy is the hotter golfer, both on and off the course, and it isn’t even close. Rory has won three straight tournaments, thrilling victories that were book-ended by two major wins. Tiger, meanwhile, has had several disastrous tournament performances since coming back from back surgery … a return that arguably came far too soon.

Save for the over-the-top, near fanatical coverage of Tiger at any tournament he shows up at, Rory has more than supplanted Tiger Woods as the face, not to mention the future, of professional golf. And if he hasn’t, he more than deserves to be afforded that title. It shows a lot of humility on Tiger’s part that he agreed to appear along with Rory on “Fallon.” It has to stick in the fierce competitor’s craw what’s going on with his game compared to what’s going on with Rory’s.

Although the big checks he cashes from Nike probably helped sway him. Further, the chance of awkwardness is minimal given Fallon’s propensity for lobbing softball questions at his guests with the ease of a Phil Mickelson flop shot.

Both golfers, however, may have a thing or two to say about their inclusion in Fallon’s PGA-themed “Superlatives” segment:

While it will be Rory’s first time sitting down with Jimmy Fallon, Woods made an appearance on “Late Night” in 2011. He also squared off against the host in 2009 when Woods and Fallon engaged in some video game action in Times Square.

Good stuff.