Rory Throws Away Tiger Match With Double Bogey

The most anticipated round of golf on the PGA Tour in 2019 happened on Saturday morning at Austin Country Club as Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy faced off in the round of 16 in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship.

The match pitted the game’s most popular player in Woods against a challenger who has represented the new guard for the better part of the past decade in McIlroy.

While a balky putter cost McIlroy a series of holes around the turn, the Northern Irishman made a charge beginning on the 12th hole. 3-down in the match, McIlroy birdied the 12th and 13th holes to cut his deficit to one.

A pair of halves on 14 and 15 brought the two stars to the par-5 16th hole, which was playing straight downwind. McIlroy launched a 395-yard drive, leaving him just a wedge into the green while Woods drove it into a fairway bunker off the tee and was forced to lay up. 

Woods played his third shot safely onto the green before McIlroy even hit his second shot, leaving the door decidedly wide open.

Instead of walking through the door, McIlroy self-imploded. He left his approach well short and caught a tricky lie just outside of a greenside bunker. From there, he hit his third shot over the green and up against railroad ties that act as a boundary. 

After assessing his options, McIlroy decided to attempt to replay his third shot, this time coming up short in a greenside bunker. From there, he was unable to hole his bunker shot for bogey and conceded the hole, giving Woods a 2-up lead with two holes to play.

The match ended on the 17th green as McIlroy was unable to make a 28-foot birdie try and Woods got up-and-down from short of the green to tie the hole and win the match 2 & 1. 

McIlroy headed out without speaking to the media, but posted to Instagram shortly after the round that he was pleased with how he hung in there when things weren’t going his way. 

“Although I was disappointed with how the match ended, I showed real patience and persistence to claw a couple holes back on the back 9, then squandered a great opportunity to get back to all square on 16,” he wrote. “Definitely one I let get away but I’ll learn and move on. I wish Tiger the best for the rest of the tournament, he made a couple of clutch putts on 15 and 17 to shut the door. See everyone at Augusta.”