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A nine-year-old Rory McIlroy apparently trolled Tiger Woods in a letter

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Even at the spry young age of nine years old, Rory McIlroy apparently already was envisioning how he would one day supplant Tiger Woods as the unquestioned king of professional golf.

An anecdote regarding the rumored letter comes from a fantastic piece from Charles Siebert in The New York Times on the No. 1 ranked McIlroy ahead of the Masters. It takes a long-view look at the ascension of the 25-year-old to the pinnacle of golf.

Siebert notes that while McIlroy’s letter to Woods “most likely never got to its intended addressee,” the story apparently goes as follows, as paraphrased in an email by Brian McIlroy, Rory’s uncle and godfather.

“I’m coming to get you,” the letter purportedly read, per Brian McIlroy’s recollection. “This is the beginning. Watch this space.”

Siebert writes that when he met with McIlroy in December, the golfer “sheepishly” attempted to downplay the story surrounding the letter.

“A lot of those memories have kind of blurred together,” McIlroy told Siebert. “But, yeah, it went something like that.”

The piece also includes a frequently told story about how his father would take his 18-month-son to a nearby golf course on the outskirts of Belfast and have him hit bucket after bucket of balls on the driving range, much to the toddler’s apparent delight. At the age of 3, McIlroy already was wowing his father with 40-yard drives.

Like his boyhood idol Woods, McIlroy obviously was a golf prodigy from the earliest stages of childhood, and while he has a little ways to go to surpass Woods’ staggering career accomplishments, he’s well on his way.

With a win at Augusta in April, McIlroy, maturing rapidly both on and off the course — despite some arguable missteps in his personal life, mostly involving the way he handled his breakup with then-fiancée Caroline Wozniacki — will achieve a career grand slam, becoming only the five other golfers to accomplish the legend-making feat. The only golfer of the five who would have locked in a career grand slam at an earlier age, of course, is Woods.

Meanwhile, Woods, still on his leave of absence from tournament golf, reportedly may be leaning towards playing in the Masters, a task probably not well-suited for a rusty, struggling golfer. Moreover, Woods for the first time in forever has fallen out of the top 100 in the Official World Golf Ranking. It’s almost eerie how McIlroy’s ascension to the top of the rankings coincided with Woods’ precipitous drop.

[H/T Business Insider, photo credit: The Times]