He appeared in the seventh edition of Capital One’s “The Match” Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy teaming up against Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth in a 12-hole gallery under the lights.
Woods made him Competitive debut Since the British Open in July. Just last week, the five-time Masters champion pulled out of challenging the world champion due to a foot injury. The Match provided each player with a cart equipped with a cart Microphones and cameras—making the made-for-television event possible for Woods.
McIlroy and Spieth made their debuts on The Match, while Thomas returned for the first time as a competitor (previously participating as a commentator).
Here’s how it was played at the Pelican Golf Club:
Hole 10: Spieth Ends
Spieth drove it into the pine straw, but hit an impressive putt from a difficult position to eight feet. Woods put himself 25 feet from the pin, and was disappointed, but then McIlroy stuck a wedge. Thomas went with a sweeping pull wheel, causing his ball to rip left once it hit the green. The entire sequence was a clinic shot formation.
McIlroy drained his short range shot so the stage was wide open for Spieth to clinch the match. He did just that. Thomas and Spieth McIlroy defeated Woods, 3 and 2.
Overall, “The Match” generated $2,605,000 for Hurricane Ian relief.
Hole 9: Push and hole at Tiger
The ninth hole was the second challenge closer to the pin on the day. The foursome again failed to donate the $100,000 bounty to Hurricane Ian relief efforts, because all four players did not make it to the green. Thomas ended up in the green dugout.
After Thomas hit his holeshot – which came up short – Barkley flexed his calf muscles. Then Thomas got into the ring, saying, “Tiger, tell us about your calves.”
“I have a great calf,” Woods said. Immelmann added the “singular”.
This hilarious interaction was followed by pushing the group back. Woods and McIlroy will head to the 10th hole 3 down with three to play, meaning they have a chance to tie Thomas and Spieth if they win all of their remaining holes.
Hole 8: Thomas sinks another to come back to 3 Up
In the second “Hole In One Challenge”, Woods and Thomas hung their tee shots tightly, while Spieth and McIlroy had problems controlling distance, getting stuck on the long fringe of the green.
After a slight miscalculation of Spieth’s tee shot, we hear a pressing question from various members of the quartet, “Where’s Michael Griller?” Spieth must be missing the Legendary Caddy at least a little bit now.
McIlroy misread, Spieth left his short, and Woods misread his attempt. However, Thomas climbed up and dried his bird.
“You hate to see it!” Spieth shouted again.
Hole 7: An opening for Woods and McIlroy
McIlroy splashed another engine, but this time he pulled off an excellent tree-by-wood escape. For the first time all day the four-time main champion seemed satisfied with a shot.
Then there was some turbulence in the fairway: After Woods hit his second shot, he stopped toward Spieth and Thomas. Thomas, fearing a malfunction from the 15-time main hero, snatched the keys to Woods’ carriage. But he didn’t think of everything—Woods was still able to make that annoyingly loud reverse button sound to distract his opponent.
When the foursome came to the green, it was McIlroy and Thomas who were left to decide the hole. A make from McIlroy and a miss from Thomas gave this match some newfound oomph.
“Hole,” Woods said, walking down the green.
Hole 6: A close Miss Thomas means another push
All four players have found a suitable fairway in the par-4’s 526 yards, but Pelican Golf Club is a Class II golf course. Thomas and Spieth continued to position themselves in an advantageous position with their approach, while Woods and McIlroy fell far behind. Thomas put his iron putt to 8 feet, while Spieth hit it to 20 feet. McIlroy missed on the green, and Woods finished a yard or so further down the sidelines.
The hole commentary came before Woods made a birdie attempt. “Tiger is having a stroke here,” said TNT announcer Brian Anderson, prompting Thomas to quickly chime in, “Please don’t get angry, guys.”
Woods didn’t eventually convert the long-range putt, but it barely missed — and the goat didn’t look happy about it. McIlroy then stepped up to his 12-foot putt, only for Thomas and Spieth to say “That’s good” as he stood over the ball. In a turn of events, Thomas missed his 7-foot birdie. Pair 3 remains bullish.
Hole 5: Tiger and Rory temporarily stop the bleeding
Sadly, the “hole-in-one challenge” produced no aces, but it did give the Woods/McIlroy team a boost. Spieth and Thomas Woods were unable to convert their birdie chances, leaving the stage open for McIlroy to recover one. The Irishman caught a nasty lip to leave his team down 3.
Broadcaster Charles Barkley summed up the moment in “The Match” perfectly, saying “We’d better make it to 12 holes because TNT has another 752 commercials to air.”
Hole 4: Thomas makes a miracle out of the same club to go up 3
Woods, McIlroy, Thomas and Spieth really put the “one-club challenge” in the 455-yard Par-4.
On the tee, Spieth earned selection honors and took a 4 iron, JT took a 5 woods, Rory took a 3 iron and Tiger didn’t immediately say what he had.
Spieth missed the fairway, McIlroy landed in a ditch, Thomas ended up on the right side of the fairway, and Tiger hit a sweeping hook on the drive.
From there chaos erupted. McIlroy chipped an iron 3, forcing him out of a pine straw after his third putt stalled on a golf cart. Spieth gave himself a chance to catch a 60-yard fumble and run to get to the green on three, as did Woods (after two more golf carts were taken from his line). But Thomas’ hole was perhaps the funniest. After launching his approach over the green (again by the golf cart!), Spieth and field commentator Katherine Tappin helped lift a rope for Thomas to hit under. The shot was masterful – Thomas then grabbed the tie by sinking the 6 footer into the wood, helping his team go up 3 counts.
Hole 3: JT & Jordan Go 2 Up
The par 3’s third hole brought the first of several challenges, and this one is the closest competition to the pin. Spieth ran away with the win, sticking it 15 feet and drying the slider from left to right.
The highlight of the hole, however, was at the end of it, when Thomas gave the group some goosebumps for constantly forgetting to hold the pin. We knew there would be some noticeable differences without the housings, but this issue was unexpected.
Hole 2: JT Drains Birdie Putt to go 1 up
The second hole was not the prettiest for the foursome, as Woods and Thomas expressed frustration with their approach putts.
But a neat delaying hit from Thomas cleared. The two-time PGA champ shrugged as he walked towards the hole, while Spieth exclaimed, “You hate to see it.”
Hole 1: JT, Tiger Tie With Birdies
The first hole of the “match” did not disappoint, as all four players surrounded the green with booby-trapped engines. On the tee, we even got Trevor Immelman’s hit from Spieth. “Sorry Trevor,” the three-time major league champion said after announcing that he had a 5-0 Presidents’ Cup record (Immelman captained the 2022 Presidents’ Cup International).
JT and Tiger both broke up second shots closely, both up and down for Birdie.
Install Spieth/JT as the betting favourites
Pre-match odds on DraftKings have Tiger/Rory at +100 (even the money) to win and Spieth/Thomas is favored to win at -120.
It may seem unusual for a World No. 1 seed to be part of an underdog team, but the Tiger’s physical condition influences the odds as well as the fact that Spieth/Thomas have had a lot of success as a team over the years.
Phil chimes in
Phil Mickelson He may not be on “The Match” anymore because of his affiliation with LIV Golf, but he’ll be watching tonight. The man who was instrumental in creating the made-for-TV golf series tweeted his support for the event Saturday night.
“Infuriatingly humble internet trailblazer. Twitter buff. Beer nerd. Bacon scholar. Coffee practitioner.”