Match at mission HILLS may not make it onto Rory McIlroy’s golfing resumé as a tournament victory but the Northern Irishman was relieved to experience a winning feeling again.
The world number six is without a tournament win in 2013 but earned himself a reported €1.1m for a handy afternoon’s work, in America, that included a fine round of golf to beat Tiger Woods. McIlroy shot a five-under round of 67 to defeat the world number one by a single stroke.
Woods kept up with McIlroy’s scintillating pace for most of the exhibition match but the pressure finally told on the 17th when a par putt slipped by the hole. Both players wore microphones for the duration of the round and spoke to commentators at regular intervals. TV hosts were forced to apologise on Woods’ behalf twice as he cursed poor shots.
McIlroy saved his best golf for the back nine and almost recorded an albatross after a superb iron approach on the par-five 12th. The ball rolled within inches of the hole before resting eight feet away. The Holywood native deposited the putt back for eagle.
Woods had an eagle putt on the last but not not get it to drop. He made birdie, however, and forced McIlroy to do likewise to get the win.
“He schooled me twice,” joked Woods after both golfers were interviewed beside the 18th green. This is McIlroy’s second victory over his Nike stablemate since signing a multi-million euro sponsorship and equipment deal with the company. One stroke was the wuinning margin at a similar exhibition — Duel at Jinsha Lake — last year.