McIlroy says Tiger Woods is greatest player he's ever seen

Updated: 

Rory McIlroy heaped praise on Tiger Woods, claiming the 14-time major champion is the best golf he has ever seen.

The career of Woods is uncertain after the 41-year-old American great admitted there was a chance he may never play again amid his ongoing back problems.

Former world number one McIlroy, who shot an opening round three-under-par 67 at the British Masters on Thursday, claimed Woods has already enjoyed full career, and if he is unable to play again, he has accomplished enough.

"If this is it, he [Woods] doesn't have anything to prove to anyone," McIlroy said, via golfchannel.com. 

"He can walk away from this game with his head held extremely high and he's done wonders for this game. I don't think there's a single figure in golf who did more for the game in terms of bringing different age groups of people into the game, different ethnicities, different age groups and made golf cool in the '90s, when it really needed an injection of something.

"He's a legend of the game, and if this is it, then everyone should just applaud what a great career he's had."

Woods is currently serving as an assistant captain for the United States team during this week's Presidents Cup in New Jersey.

He underwent another back surgery earlier this year after briefly returning to action, having not tasted victory since 2013.

Currently hitting just pitch shots, Woods has displayed a more patient approach with his latest comeback attempt. While everyone expects him to return, there is a chance his career is over.

If that is the case, Northern Ireland's McIlroy still thinks Woods was one of the greatest golfers of all time.

"Look, if he doesn't play again, he's been the greatest player that I've ever seen," McIlroy said. "He probably played the greatest golf that anyone in my lifetime has seen. I didn't really see Jack [Nicklaus] play. Jack has a better record, but I don't know if he played better golf."