Tiger Woods has heaped praise on Genesis Open playing partner Rory McIlroy, claiming the pair have grown close over the years, the BBC report.

Woods is looking to add the Genesis Open to his collection, with the 43-year-old previously failing to win the tournament throughout his career in his 12 previous attempts.

The icon’s best finishes in Los Angeles were back-to-back runners-up finishes in 1998 and 1999.

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Woods is currently on one under in the rain-delayed event, while McIlroy sits two shots ahead on three under.

The pair have also been playing alongside American Justin Thomas at the Riviera Golf Course, who is well placed at the top of the leaderboard on 10 under, alongside Australian Adam Scott.

And talking to the media prior to the competition, Woods was asked about his relationship with the Northern Irishman, to which the 14-time major winner answered:

He’s a great kid, with unbelievable parents, and we have got close over the years.

I’ve always enjoyed playing with Rory – I’ve always enjoyed watching him play, how he has developed, and the amount of tournaments he has won, yet he’s still learning and developing.

There’s a lot of wins ahead of him but I’ve enjoyed being a part of watching him mature on the Tour and getting to know him a lot closer.

McIlroy, currently ranked 9th in the world, has enjoyed some good form in 2019, placing in the top five in his two tournaments in 2019, a year in which he is concentrating firmly on the PGA Tour in a bid to add more major championships.