"You hit the ball in as much trouble as I do off the tee, you learn to hit those kinds of shots and have enough practice at it," he said. "I knew what was going to happen."
Woods played two rounds with McIlroy at Abu Dhabi to start the year, and they were frequent playing partners during the FedEx Cup playoffs last year. Woods said McIlroy looked "just a little bit defensive" with his swing.
"That happens, and we have all gone through stretches like this," Woods said. "It happens, and it happened to him last year in the middle of the year, and ended up all right at the end of the year. When you play golf for a very long time, you're going to have spells like this. You can't play well every week, even though you try. You're going to have ups and downs, and just got to battle through it."