Thanks for joining Back9Network’s live coverage of “The Match at Missions Hills” as Tiger Woods faces off with Rory McIlroy live from China.
To read the blog in chronological order, start at the bottom and work your way up.
|Through 18 Holes: Rory -6, Tiger -5|
Hole 18 Recap: Once again, McIlroy’s drive is long and down the middle on this finishing par 5. Woods matches it. After crossing a pond, the boys meet up again and make small chat, with Rashad joining them. Both players admit to the back nine playing better than the front. Woods reaches the green in two, leaving a long but manageable eagle putt. McIlroy’s approach is short, but he too is on the green. He nearly sinks the eagle putt, rolling it past the right edge. Woods’ eagle putt runs right – he needed that one. Woods takes birdie, but McIlory puts it in from three feet out for birdie too. For the second straight year, McIlroy takes the one-on-one duel.
4:05 AM ET: Final Scores – Rory McIlroy: 67 and Tiger Woods: 68
4:04 AM ET: Rory McIlroy makes his birdie putt and wins the Match at Mission Hills!
4:03 AM ET: Rory McIlroy just misses his eagle putt. Tiger Woods misses his eagle putt as well and has to settle for birdie.
3:58 AM ET: Tiger Woods hits an incredible second shot and has a chance for eagle. Rory McIlroy finds the green as well. Long putt for eagle.
3:54 AM ET: Rory McIlroy hits a great tee shot and is set up perfectly for his second shot. Tiger Woods hits a great shot when it’s needed and finds the middle of the fairway.
|Through 17 Holes: Rory -5, Tiger -4|
Hole 17 Recap: Smoothly down the middle for both drives. McIlroy’s approach goes over the stick but stays on the green, while Woods’ comes up well short. But he gets up nicely and nearly holes out. The chip is a little strong, though, so Woods still faces a tough downhill putt. Meanwhile, McIlroy’s birdie putt rolls right; he’s not happy. Neither is Woods after his par putt stops on the lip of the cup, so he drops a shot. McIlroy sinks his par putt, giving him a one-stroke edge with one hole to play. Rather than chatting with McIlroy on the way to the next tee as they have been, Woods takes off toward 18 by himself.
3:51 AM ET: Tiger Woods leaves his par putt short and makes bogey. Rory McIlroy makes par and now leads by one with one hole left to play.
3:49AM ET: Tiger Woods nearly holes out his 3rd shot. Rory McIlroy misses his birdie putt. Tiger needs to make this par putt to put some pressure on Rory.
3:46 AM ET: Rory McIlroy’s second shot flies right over the flag stick and has a downhill putt for birdie.Tiger Woods’ second comes up way short. Advantage – Rory McIlroy
3:41 AM ET: Rory McIlroy’s tee shot finds the fairway. Tiger Woods responds with a beautiful tee shot, finds the fairway as well.
|Through 16 Holes: Rory -5, Tiger -5|
Hole 16 Recap: A drivable 300-yard par 4, McIlroy’s 3-wood sends it left of the green, but safe. Woods lets one loose and twirls the driver as he watches it fly, but it goes left too, just missing a bunker. McIlroy’s chip rolls left past the hole by five feet, but Woods’ chip clears a bunker and stops a foot short. McIlroy sinks the clutch birdie putt, followed by Woods’ easy birdie putt. The guys move to 5-under overall – impressive for a “rusty” Woods and solid for McIlroy, who’s played competitively more recently than his foe.
3:40 AM ET: Rory McIlroy makes his birdie putt. Tiger Woods answers and the two players are both 5-under with two to play.
3:39 AM ET: Rory McIlroy hits a great wedge shot and has a good look at birdie. Tiger Woods matches Rory’s shot and is a few feet away.
3:36 AM ET: “It’s not just walking the course. The stress the swing puts on the body, we do a lot on injury prevention and you look at Tiger. He’s the one that revolutionized golf fitness. He’s in great shape. He’s strong. It’s important for the golf swing.” – Rory to Ahmad
3:35 AM ET: “You are an old bastard aren’t you!?” – Rory to Ahmad
3:32 AM ET: Rory McIlroy goes for the green on the driveable par-4 but comes up short to the left. Tiger Woods comes up short as well, barely misses the bunker in front.
|Through 15 Holes: Rory -4, Tiger -4|
Hole 15 Recap: Another par 3 from an elevated tee, McIlroy’s drive lands deep on the right side of the green. Woods’ shot is dead on, but it sticks in the front of the green. His mid-range putt stayed left the whole way – “That was interesting,” Woods says – so he taps in for par. McIlroy’s longer putt rolls just wide left, leaving a five-footer back uphill for par. He sinks it to stay level, but McIlroy feels like he let one get away.
3:29 AM ET: Tiger Woods misses his birdie attempt. Makes his tap-in par. Rory McIlroy misses his birdie putt as well and has to settle for par.
3:35 AM ET: Rory McIlroy finds the green. Tiger Woods finds the green as well. Both have long birdie attempts.
|Through 14 Holes: Rory -4, Tiger -4|
Hole 14 Recap: Another nice drive by Woods, this one down the left side. McIlroy goes down the middle and 20 yards farther. Woods pulls the approach shot left and deep but on the green, followed by McIlroy making his move – he sticks his approach about seven feet left of the cup. Woods’ birdie putt comes up five inches short, so he takes a tap-in par. McIlroy pounces, burying the putt and knotting things up at 4-under with four holes to play.
3:22 AM ET: Tiger misses his birdie opportunity, settles for par. Rory McIlroy makes his birdie putt and both players are now 4-under par.
3:19 AM ET: “Don’t you think that sound guy over there looks a little bit like Johnny Miller?” – Rory to Tiger
3:18 AM ET: Tiger Woods misses the green, Rory McIlroy sticks it close and has a great opportunity to get even.
3:13 AM ET: Tiger Woods pures his tee shot and finds the left side of the fairway. Rory McIlroy matches Tiger’s shot and finds the middle of the fairway.
|Through 13 Holes: Rory -3, Tiger -4|
Hole 13 Recap: The big sticks come out again for this 628-yarder, and Woods goes right down the middle. McIlroy bests it by 10 yards. Woods’ second cuts the corner and stays in the fairway; McIlroy mirrors the shot. “What part of your game is really good right now?” Rashad asks Woods. “Nothing… This is rusty,” Woods says. “That’s making me feel real good,” McIlroy chimes in. “I’m one behind.” Woods sticks the third shot eight feet left of the pin. McIlroy leaves his about eight feet right. Sucking on another cough drop, Woods sinks the birdie putt. McIlroy matches. Both guys are picking up the shot making.
3:10 AM ET: Tiger makes his birdie and Rory McIlroy responds with a birdie himself. Tiger still holds his 1-shot lead.
3:09 AM ET: “You are the biggest baby.”- Tiger to Ahmad
3:07 AM ET: Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy both set themselves up beautifully for birdie.
3:05 AM ET: “What do you feel like you’re doing well today?” – Ahmad to Tiger. “Nothing.” – Tiger. “That makes me feel really good!” – Rory to Tiger
3:04 AM ET: Tiger Woods second shot sets him up beautifully for his approach. Rory McIlroy matches Tiger’s second shot.
3:01 AM ET: “That’s when I had my best years when I could spin the ball a lot. Guys like Phil spin it so much naturally. When I played with Kuch at the Presidents Cup his ball spun a ton.” – Tiger to Rory
3:00 AM ET: Tiger Woods hits a beautiful tee shot and finds the middle of the fairway. Rory McIlroy finds the middle of the fairway as well. Both are set up perfectly on this par-5.
|Through 12 Holes: Rory -2, Tiger -3|
Hole 12 Recap: Both guys pull out the big stick and crush it as hard as they can. Woods goes right, but he’s OK – aside from the solitary tree he’s behind. McIlroy’s to the left. Woods clips one of those branches on the approach, but he sticks it on the green. McIlroy betters him, coming within inches of holing out. “Hell of a shot, dude,” Woods says to McIlroy when they reach the green. Then Woods drains a nice eagle putt to drop to 3-under. McIlroy matches the eagle and goes to 2-under.
2:57 AM ET: Tiger Woods finds the bottom of the cup and makes eagle. Rory McIlroy responds with an eagle as well. Tiger holes his 1-shot lead.
2:54 AM ET: Tiger Woods clips a branch on his second shot but manages to still pull off a incredible shot. Rory McIlroy nearly holes his second shot and will have a great look at birdie.
2:49 AM ET: Tiger Woods’ tee shot finds the fairway. Rory McIlroy pulls out the driver and goes for the long ball. Finds the left side of the fairway.
|Through 11 Holes: Rory Even, Tiger -1|
Hole 11 Recap: Woods sends his tee shot from the elevated tee box to the right of the pin on this par 3, while McIlroy is straighter and on the green, but short. Woods’ chip runs just left of the cup and stops eight feet past, but he saves par. McIlroy makes par too after leaving the birdie putt short and left. “You keeping up?” Woods asks a slightly-winded Rashad. Rashad notes that this is the happiest he’s seen Tiger, a guy he’s known for years, as the two live in the same neighborhood and have kids at the same school.
2:45 AM ET: Rory McIlroy misses his birdie putt, taps in for par. Tiger Woods gets up-and-down and makes par as well. Tiger remains 1-under.
2:42 AM ET: Tiger Woods finds the right side fringe on the par-3 11th hole. Rory tees off and hits an 8-iron for 207 yards. He finds the heart of the green. Will have a long putt for birdie.
|Through 10 Holes: Rory Even, Tiger -1
Hole 10 Recap: Woods pulls another drive left into the crowd, while McIlroy is safely in the fairway. “I’m definitely hitting it longer with this ball,” Woods says. Both guys get it on the green with their second shots, then each need two putts to walk away with par. That leaves Woods to remain at 1-under.
2:36 AM ET: Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy both settle for par
2:35 AM ET: The crowds cheering on Tiger as he tries to make his way to his ball.
2:33 AM ET: “I tell ya’. Walking this course is no joke!” – Ahmad to Tiger
2:31 AM ET: Tiger Woods hits his tee shot a little left. Rory McIlroy stripes it right down the middle of the fairway. Rory looks to have an advantage now.
|Through 9 Holes: Rory Even, Tiger -1|
Other “Match at Mission Hills” Links:
– Ahmad Rashad on Tiger and Rory’s Rematch in China (Video)
– Behind-the-Scenes of Back9’s Tiger-Rory Promo (Video)
– Tiger vs. Rory: Swing Comparison (Video)
– Schedule of Events: The Match at Mission Hills
– Mission Hills: The Blackstone Course
– Mission Hills Haikou the Product of ‘Mr. Golf’
– Behind-the-Scenes of Back9’s Tiger-Rory Promo
– Dammit Tiger, Curse Away!