Play-by-play: Tiger Woods beats Rory McIlroy 2&1 in up-and-down match

March 30, 2019
tiger woods rory mcilroy

Mark today down as host for one of the most anticipated Sweet 16 matchups in recent WGC-Match Play history. It’s Tiger Woods vs. Rory McIlroy at Austin Country Club.

With 18 majors between the two (thanks, Tiger), it’s easily the most high-profile match on the docket Saturday morning. When asked about it Friday, Woods simply said, “I’ll be ready.” McIlroy was a bit more coy, referring to how he was trounced by Woods during the final round of the Tour Championship in September.

Well, McIlroy was the odds-on favorite in Vegas. Yes, that means you could gamble on Tiger Woods for a bargain today. They teed off at 9: 30 a.m. ET. You can follow along with our live blog of the match below:

SCORE: Tiger wins 2&1

All times ET / Refresh this page for updates

1:26 p.m.: EXHALES. Wild stuff. Rory had all the momentum…and one swing undid him. Tiger waltz to victory with a closing clutch par. On to Bjerregaard.

1:20 p.m.: Rory BURNS the edge on 17. Tiger’s putt from 13 feet to win the match…and he buries it! GAME OVER. Tiger wins 2&1. On to the Elite 8.

1:18 p.m.: Tiger’s approach on the par-3 17th comes up short. Resting next to the hazard line. He’ll have a very tricky chip. Rory is on the green and 28 feet away.

1:13 p.m.: Rory takes an unplayable lie. Goes back to the spot of his third shot. CHUNKS IT into the front bunker. Then splashes out. Takes a 7 and concedes the hole to Tiger. Just wow. Rory is dormie.

1:09 p.m.: Rory caught WAY TOO MUCH ball, and it ended up here. Wow.

This is where Rory McIlroy's third shot came to a halt on the 16th hole.
PGA Tour Live

1:04 p.m.: Tiger soars his approach onto the green. He’ll have 25 feet for birdie and Rory makes a mistake. He flies his shot at the pin but short. Splashes in the greenside bunker and out, into the rough.

1:00 p.m.: Tiger has to wedge out of the bunker and is still short of McIlroy’s drive.

12:55 p.m.: Rory smashes driver on the par-5 16th. Absolutely smashed. THREE HUNDRED AND NINETY-FIVE YARDS. Tiger finds a fairway bunker. Advantage: McIlroy.

12:51 p.m.: Rory’s chip is so good. Trickles out to a few inches. Tiger makes a 7-footer for par and stays 1Up.

12:44 p.m.: Rory McIlroy short sides himself with a chip just left of the hole. Tiger, meanwhile, from that ridiculous hardpan lie, finds the middle of the green and will have a birdie putt.

196 out. Hardpan lie. No big deal for Tiger Woods.
PGA Tour Live

12:41 p.m.: Lucas Bjerregaard is 4Up on Stenson. He’ll likely take on the winner of this match.

12:38 p.m.: Tiger sends his tee shot on 15 left of left. Like, really, really left. Advantage: McIlroy

12:31 p.m.: Rory forces Tiger to make his 30-inch putt for a halve. Tiger still 1Up.

12:29 p.m.: It’s monkey-see, monkey-do here in Austin. Rory spins his approach off the front edge. Tiger does the same. Up-and-down contest for par.

12:27 p.m.: Both gents find the fairway with less than driver off the tee. Each with about 135 in to the 14th green.

12:17 p.m.: Tiger makes a mess of the 13th (still makes par) but McIlroy makes his 5-footer for birdie and the win. Tiger now just 1Up.

12:13 p.m.: All of a sudden, the wind is whipping. Tiger struggles with his approach and it flies over the green. Rory has a big advantage now.

12:08 p.m.: On the drivable par-4 13th, Rory plays his tee shot out pin-high right. Tiger lays up! Another advantage for McIlroy, who has 64 feet compared to Woods’s 70 yards. Pretty cool tee shot setting.

Not a bad view, eh?
PGA Tour Live

12:02 p.m.: Tiger’s approach spins back to 24 feet. Rory NEARLY holes his chip. Makes his birdie. As Tiger misses his putt, Rory gets a hole back. Tiger now 2UP thru 12.

11:55 a.m.: Rory FINALLY does something with an advantage. Tiger was forced to lay up. Rory finds the green from 242 yards away. 40 feet up and down for birdie from the fringe.

11:48 a.m.: Tiger finds a fairway bunker right on the par-5 12th. Rory bombs his driver into the edge of the fairway. Advantage: Rors.

11:45 a.m.: Woods hits a good lag putt from 42 feet. Makes his par. Zero bogeys thus far for TW. Rory eases his putt down the slope from off the green. Leaves it short of the hole but in the center. Halved.

11:40 a.m.: Tiger finds the middle of the green on the par-3 11th. Rory flies the green and will have a very tricky downhill chip/putt. McIlroy is officially leaking oil.

11:36 a.m.: Tiger two-putts for par. Easy tap-in. Rory passes the hole and Tiger makes him putt it! From 25 inches, Rory misses. Wow. Tiger 3Up.

11:32 a.m.: Tiger’s wedge flies a touch too long and will have 32 feet uphill for birdie. Rory, from the same distance, pulls off almost the exact same shot. Who will make the putt? My money’s on Tiger.

11:28: a.m.: Meanwhile, in the group ahead. Lucas Bjerregaard is 2Up on Henrik Stenson. Winner of that match gets the winner of this one.

11:26 a.m.: Tiger finds the fairway with a long-iron off the 10th tee. Rory also hits iron and will have a very similar look at the green.

11:20 a.m.: Tiger’s putt is on line the entire way….but he leaves it short. Rory misses to the right. McIlroy can’t make anything with the flat stick.

SOMEHOW, Tiger's putt stopped right there.
PGA Tour Live

Tiger Woods-Rory McIlroy LIVE BLOG

11:18 a.m.: Rory tosses in a dart to seven feet for birdie on 9. Tiger not quite as good, leaves himself 15 feet from 90 yards.

11:13 a.m.: Rory in the fairway on 9 with 3-wood, but much shorter than Tiger, who is also in the fairway. Wedge competition.

11:06 a.m.: Rory gets up and down with the putter from six feet off the green. Great lag putt. Tiger, with a wedge, spins his shot too much. Left himself six feet for par but walks it in. No blood.

11:02 a.m.: After waiting for the group ahead of them, Tiger flares his approach a touch right and short of the hole. Rory skies one a touch long and left of the hole. Both players will have to chip their way on.

10:56 a.m.: Conditions in Austin are fall-like. Low-60s with a wind that’s only going to increase throughout the day. In other words: perfect.

10:54 a.m.: Tiger swings HARD on the long, par-4 8th. Rory swings just as hard and sends it 20 yards by TW. Both in the fairway.

10:51 a.m.: Tiger two-putts for his par. Rory’s birdie putt…misses right. Under-reading most of his putts thus far.

10:46 a.m.: Tiger leaves his approach into the 209-yard, par-3 7th short and right of the hole. He’ll have 30 feet for birdie. Rory darts his approach to 12 feet. Will he bounce back?

10:42 a.m.: Rory misses his birdie and Woods makes his. So much for a bounce back for the Northern Irishman. Tiger goes 2UP.

10:40 a.m: Tiger hits an incredible, low, rolling pitch that funnels back toward the cup. Three feet for birdie. Rory bumps his on and it rolls out to 12 feet for his birdie.

10:39 a.m.: Wanted to get this in here for the record. Mark this down as Things an 18-handicapper Thinks They Can Do But Can Never Actually Pull Off.

Tiger nearly reached the green from here.
PGA Tour Live

10:36 a.m.: Tiger takes 3-wood from the fairway bunker on 6  and guides it up left of the green. Rory fails to hit the green. He’ll have 70 feet between him and an up-and-down birdie.

10:31 a.m.: Rory smashes driver into the fairway on the par-5 6th. Tiger misses to the right. We might have a tied match again in a few minutes.

10:25 a.m.: Rory’s chip runs along the fall line but it barely stays up. He misses his five-footer for birdie. Tiger from the second cut, pitches on to two feet. Birdie for the lead!

10:20 a.m.: Rory’s drive on the 343-yard par-4 comes up just a few feet short of the green. Tiger answers just a little short right of the green. Couple great chipping options for eagle. This match wants some fireworks!

10:13 a.m.: Tiger mis-reads the putt too far out to the right and he has to accept another halved hole. All pars thus far.

10:08 a.m.: 189-yard par-3 4th. Rory leaves his just a touch short of the top landing spot. He’ll have 20 feet uphill for birdie. Tiger draws his in to nine feet and on the correct level. He’s got a good chance to get a leg up here.

10:05 a.m.: Neither pro is able to convert their birdie putts. Two pars. All tied after three.

10:00 a.m.: Tiger flights one soaring into the air. Catches the slope and and rolls back to about 18 feet for birdie. Rory throws his directly behind Tiger’s ball and will give him the read.

9:56 a.m.: Rory misses the fairway right with his 3-wood. Tiger takes 3-wood as well and smokes it into a similar spot.

9:55 a.m.: The boys are hummin’ around the course this morning. Boy is match play refreshing.

9:53 a.m.: Tiger two-putts for his par. Rory cashes his par-saver and they stay all tied.

9:51 a.m.: Rory blasts out of the greenside bunker and has 10 feet for par.

9:48 a.m.: Tiger tosses in a dart from 209 out. He’s 14 feet beyond the hole. Will have a good look at birdie. Rory blasts out of the bunker and into a greenside bunker. TW in a good spot here.

9:43 a.m.: Rory smashes drive into a fairway pot bunker on the 461-yard par-4. Tiger elects for 3-wood and he loses it out right. In the first cut (which isn’t that thick).

9:40 a.m.: Tiger two-putts for par. Rory burns the edge. All tied after one.

9:38 a.m.: Super tricky shot for Tiger. Needed to carry a bunker and mound. Hit the downslope and kicked forward. Both players have about 20 feet for birdie.

9:32 a.m.: Rory absolutely pummels his drive. Tiger hits it FURTHER.

9:27 a.m.: Almost blastoff time. I’m wearing a Nike golf graphic tee and an Augusta National hat. Who’s with me!?

9:15 a.m.: Alright, sports fans. Fifteen minutes and counting for the first tee shot.

9:09 a.m.: Woods is listed at +130 according to the online sportsbook Bovada. McIlroy is listed at -170. Yeah, he’s been playing some good golf.

9:00 a.m.: Goooood morning, folks! It’s Tiger-Rory Day. Or at least Tiger-Rory morning. Whoever wins this match will be playing again this afternoon.