Predictably, Tiger Woods resorted to humor to defuse Greg Norman's bombshell assertion that he's "really intimidated" by Rory McIlroy.
And neither did it serve McIlroy to weigh in too earnestly on what is a sensitive subject for a young man who's both growing closer to, and rapidly eclipsing, his boyhood idol.
Woods was quick to greet golf's crown prince, to whom he's taken quite a liking, at East Lake, venue of this week's Tour Championship on Wednesday morning.
"He's got a new nickname for me, actually," McIlroy said. "He calls me The Intimidator."
Norman's contentious characterization of the dynamic between the world's two best players -- that McIlroy has overtaken the 36-year-old Woods -- has caused ripples throughout the golfing world.
"What I'm seeing is that Tiger's really intimidated by Rory," Norman told me. "When have you ever seen him intimidated by another player? Never. But I think he knows his time's up. And that's normal; these things tend to go in 15-year cycles...