Tiger, McIlroy have own version of match play

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy faced off Sunday in match play, just like so many golf fans wanted to see.

Only hardly anyone saw them. And it didn’t even count.

After both were eliminated in the first round of the Match Play Championship, No. 1 and No. 2 in the world played two rounds Sunday morning at The Medalist.

“We thought we’d play our own Match Play final,” McIlroy said Tuesday at the Honda Classic.

They were done about the time Matt Kuchar was holding on for a 2-and-1 win over Hunter Mahan at Dove Mountain in Arizona. McIlroy didn’t give any details of the match, but it’s safe to say they weren’t wearing the ski caps that Kuchar and Mahan had on during their match.

The opening round for Woods and McIlroy didn’t start until Thursday because of a snowstorm. They were gone the next day after losing, and Woods said he was headed home to Florida to get warm.

The Medalist is the home club of Woods. McIlroy said former NFL receiver Ahmad Rashad joined them.

So who won?

McIlroy said Woods won the first round, and McIlroy beat him the second round. That would leave their head-to-head record tied at 2 wins apiece. A year ago, Woods beat McIlroy in the World Golf Finals exhibition in Turkey, and McIlroy beat him in an 18-hole exhibition in China.

One thing they didn’t have to worry about was pace of play.

They teed off at 8 a.m. and McIlroy said he was home by 1:30 p.m.

“He putts with the pin in,” McIlroy said. “It’s speed golf. It was good. It was really enjoyable.”

McIlroy is the defending champion at the Honda Classic, where he held on despite a birdie-eagle finish by Woods, who tied for second. McIlroy has played only three rounds that count this year, with the Masters only six weeks away. He and Woods missed the cut in Abu Dhabi, and both lost in the first round of Match Play. The difference is that Woods also played the Farmers Insurance Open, which he won for his record eighth win at Torrey Pines.

Both are to play next week at Doral.

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