A long awaited head to head match between Rory McIlroy vs Tiger Woods happened yesterday at the Dell Technologies Match Play event at the Austin Country Club. Each made it out of their respective pools, but Rory was the more dominate of the players. His strong play has this season indicated that he was the favorite, but he was playing Tiger Woods. Therefore, nothing was certain or predictable in the lose a go home rounds.
Heralded as one of the great matches of the weekend, I am not sure it met everyone’s expectations. It did not meet mine in the early stages for sure. As expected, Tiger Woods played solid relatively error free golf for 11 holes. He built a seemingly commanding 3-up lead. He made very few mistakes and played the style of golf we all expected from a player of his calibre.
Not to be outdone, Rory McIlroy continued to press Tiger. Winning the 12th and 13th holes, he closed the gap to 1-down. He had missed a few putts earlier, but his ball striking kept him in the mix for 17 holes. His approach shot on the 16th was atypical shot as he fell short of his intended distance. The final result was being down 2 with 2 to go. This, in my opinion, was the TSN turning point for McIlroy!
The 17th hole was a beast with the prevailing winds and cool temperatures. Tiger’s tee shot ended up in the hazard and luckily he had a shot. Rory placed his shot on the green, but left a very lengthy putt. Tiger played a fantastic shot and as a result closed Rory out on the 17th hole.
Throughout the match, Tiger’s approach shots (as anticipated) were the deciding factor in his win. I guess I am not surprised because Tiger has the ability at any time to score low and mentally defeat his opponent. Going back to my original question: was Tiger and Rory’s match worth the hype of these two titans playing a head to head match?
I do not think so. It was solid golf, but it was not McIlroy/Reed or Mickelson/Garcia Ryder Cup match for sure. It was solid golf played by two fantastic players. It did not generate any more interest or excitement than any of the other matches of the day. It was fun to watch and I enjoyed seeing them strike the ball.
What did you think of their match?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links.