Less than two weeks remain until world No. 1 Tiger Woods takes on sixth-ranked Rory McIlroy in The Match at Mission Hills. That means another week and a half of relaxation for Woods, and for McIlroy, enough time for two more tournaments.
Woods last competed Oct. 6 in the Presidents Cup, where he sank the putt that clinched the title for the Americans. McIlroy last saw action a month ago in the BMW Championship, where he tied for 59th and quietly ended a disappointing PGA Tour season.
But a rested McIlroy is eager to get back on the links, taking part in the Korean Open in Cheonan, South Korea, this week and the BMW Masters in Shanghai, China, next week. From there, he’ll jet down to Haikou, China, to take on Woods head-to-head, a rematch of last year’s duel at Jinsha Lake, which was won by McIlroy.
Woods, who won five tournaments in 2013 and reappeared at No. 1 in the world for the first time since 2010, spoke about his foe Tuesday to reporters on a conference call.
“He’s had a lot of things going on this year,” Woods said about McIlroy. “He hasn’t played as well as he has in prior years, but he’s still ranked pretty high (No. 6). A lot of guys don’t even get that high.
“I think … give him a little bit more time. I think he’s starting to put the pieces together, starting to play a little bit more. He showed some really good signs towards the end of the season that the things he’s working on are starting to come together.”
Following The Match, McIlroy plans to head back to Shanghai for the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, then scoot over to Dubai for European Tour finale, then go Down Under for the Australian Open, and close out 2013 with an appearance in the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge in California, which is an event hosted by the Tiger Woods Foundation.
Woods, of course, will also be there. Between that and The Match at Mission Hills, Woods’ only other tournament will be the Turkey Airlines Open next month.
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