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The disastrous double bogey that cost Rory McIlroy his match against Tiger Woods

March 30, 2019

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods. It was the favorite match of any PGA Tour fan thus far at the WGC-Dell Match Play in Austin, Texas. Three-and-a-half hours in, it had lived up to the billing. In a matter of minutes and a couple screwy swings, Rory McIlroy lost all the momentum and, shortly, the match itself.

McIlroy was 1 Down on the 16th hole before he unleashed his greatest tee shot of the week. It flew, and flew and bounded forward in the fairway, rolling out to 395 yards. Woods, meanwhile, missed the fairway left and landed in the fairway bunker. He had to splash out and even hit his third shot before McIlroy’s second.

With a full shot lead and just 172 yards downwind, McIlroy went straight at the flag and came up short. In a tricky spot — standing in the bunker, swinging at a ball in the rough — McIlroy caught too much ball and flew the green. It came to rest against a set of railroad ties beyond the hole. Rory was left with one decision: take an unplayable like and try again.

Of course, that wasn’t it. McIlroy chunked his fifth shot into the bunker short of the hole, splashed out with this sixth and had his seventh putt conceded. Woods, who took three shots to reach the back of the green, quickly had the hole conceded to him. No putts necessary.

You can watch McIlroy’s mess of the hole here.

To make matters even more frustrating, McIlroy burned the edge on his birdie putt on 17, a hole he needed to win to continue the match. Woods had shorted himself off the tee, punched a chip forward to 13 feet, making it look like the match could extend to 18. But that 14-time major-winner is successful for a reason. Woods poured in the birdie putt to end the match right there. Done and done. McIlroy declined to talk with the Golf Channel after his round.

Woods moved on to take on Lucas Bjerregaard in the quarterfinal round of the WGC-Dell Match Play Saturday afternoon.