Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Light at the end of the tunnel? Rory McIlroy bests Tiger Woods in China

October 28, 2013 -- Updated 1540 GMT (2340 HKT)
Rory McIlroy showed his best form with a flawless six-under 67 to beat Tiger Woods in China.
Rory McIlroy showed his best form with a flawless six-under 67 to beat Tiger Woods in China.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rory McIlroy beats Tiger Woods in exhibition at Mission Hills
  • Shoots six-under 67 to beat World No.1 by one shot
  • McIlroy has slipped down the rankings this season after outstanding 2012
  • Ryan Moore wins PGA Tour event in Malaysia after delayed playoff

(CNN) -- Rory McIlroy has had a 2013 to forget but chose a lucrative exhibition match with World No.1 Tiger Woods in China to give promise of a return to his stellar best at season's end.

The pair fought it out Monday in the "Match at Mission Hills" on Hainan Island and it was Northern Ireland's McIlroy who edged it by one shot after 18 holes.

The 24-year-old carded a six-under 67 against 68 for Woods - repeating his win of 2012 in the corresponding event.

"I would like to play all my tournaments in China where I can beat Tiger," McIlroy joked after his narrow win.

Exclusive: Tiger and Rory's 'bromance'
Can Presidents Cup survive?
Tiger Woods, PGA Tour Player of the Year

"It's been great to come back to this wonderful golf course where I still have such great memories from playing here two years ago in the World Cup," he told AFP.

Read: Rory in 'good shape' after Korea near miss

McIllroy won the World Cup in 2011 with Graeme McDowell at the same venue and will be hoping his improved form can be carried over to next week's WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

He needs a solid finish to get into the top 60 and qualify for the European Tour's Race to Dubai, an event McIlroy won last year to round off a superlative season.

He is currently languishing in 62nd place in the rankings, a far cry from his triumphs of 2012 as he rose to No.1.

"I still have four tournaments left to the end of the season and still would love to finish 2013 strongly and get some momentum into next season," he said.

"I'm hitting the ball well and from tee-to-green the game is very solid and if I can get the putter working, I maybe can contend and get a win or two."

By contrast, Woods has won five PGA Tour events this year, but has missed out on adding to his major tally of 14.

He battled a virus and a long trip from the United States to push Mcllroy close, the issue decided when he bogeyed the 17th to fall a shot behind.

Read: Tiger threatens legal action over 'cheat' accusation

Exclusive: McIlroy on media scrutiny
Rory McIlroy admits walk-off error
Golfer Rory McIlroy signs with Nike

Both men birdied the last, but it was McIlroy who took the honors, building on his strong second place finish in the Korea Open eight days ago.

Organizers have not revealed the fees both men received, but reports said they had shared $3 million to play in the exhibition.

Woods is skipping the HSBC-Champions to play in a tournament in Turkey.

In other golf action Monday, Ryan Moore beat Gary Woodland in a playoff to win the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, an event sanctioned by the PGA Tour.

The American pair were tied on 14-under par after four rounds at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, but had to come back the next day after the light ran out.

Moore birdied the first extra hole to claim the $1.26 million top prize and a two-year PGA Tour exemption.

The tournament, which was blighted by storms and rain delays, attracted a strong field, which included major winners Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley and Ernie Els as the star attractions, but they did not feature in the battle for the top prize.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 8, 2014 -- Updated 1424 GMT (2224 HKT)
From Seve's "spine-shivering" moment to Jack Nicklaus' "perfect explosion," David Cannon has captured many of golf's defining images.
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1320 GMT (2120 HKT)
They came home as casualties of war -- physically shattered and mentally broken. But golf is proving to be an unlikely salvation for U.S. veterans.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 1231 GMT (2031 HKT)
You are the one hitting the shots, but the man standing over your shoulder could hold the key to your golfing destiny.
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1227 GMT (2027 HKT)
PINEHURST, NC - JUNE 10: Rory McIlroy (R) of Northern Ireland talks with his dad Gerry McIlroy (L) during a practice round prior to the start of the 114th U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Course No. 2 on June 10, 2014 in Pinehurst, North Carolina. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
He has been there for all three of his son's major wins, but the latest triumph may well have been the sweetest yet for Rory McIlroy's father.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1218 GMT (2018 HKT)
The next generation of golfers just keeps on getting younger. "They have the confidence to perform against their idols," says one ex-prodigy.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 1159 GMT (1959 HKT)
He was Spain's ultimate matador and golf's greatest escape artist.
June 18, 2014 -- Updated 1536 GMT (2336 HKT)
Rory McIlroy has announced he wants to represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Two-time major champion Rory McIlroy declares he'll represent Ireland at the Rio Olympics, not Great Britain.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
Already admired by Annika Sorenstam and with a bucketful of talent, New Zealand's Lydia Ko has the world of golf at her feet.
April 28, 2014 -- Updated 1130 GMT (1930 HKT)
Mike O'Connor, UK FootGolf
Like footie? Partial to a bit of golf? Then you'll love FootGolf. The sport's growing fan base includes a host of former English Premier League stars.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 1343 GMT (2143 HKT)
Golfers at at Barkway Park don't seem to concerned and have been taking pictures and videos of the bird when it appears on the greens and fairways.
A runaway ostrich-like bird hiding near an English golf course has caused quite a stir. Some say it's dangerous, while others are cashing in.
April 22, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
Eagles may be thin on the ground for most golfers at the Bear Trace course at Harrison Bay. But up in the treetops, it's a different matter.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1754 GMT (0154 HKT)
When someone tells you to go jump in a lake, sometimes it's best to take their advice. "I've never been so scared," says golfer Pablo Larrazabal.
ADVERTISEMENT