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
November 12, 2014 -- Updated 1129 GMT (1929 HKT)
"Sleep, as far as mental and physical recovery goes, has never been more important ..." says sport sleep coach Nick Littlehales.
November 4, 2014 -- Updated 1024 GMT (1824 HKT)
Joe Miller is devouring his second steak of the day and the clock has barely nudged 2pm. You need lots of fuel to smash a drive 474 yards.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1449 GMT (2249 HKT)
There have been many dark days for Oliver Wilson, but golf's unluckiest loser is finally riding an upward swing of his career roller coaster.
October 7, 2014 -- Updated 1648 GMT (0048 HKT)
They dress like it's the 1930s and they swing antique equipment that eschews cutting-edge technology -- this is hickory golf.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 1609 GMT (0009 HKT)
CNN's Living Golf focuses on women's golf, charting the growth of the sport from royal pastime to multi-million dollar machine.
October 1, 2014 -- Updated 0846 GMT (1646 HKT)
"I don't know how to paint happy," says golf's poster girl Michelle Wie. "I think it releases a lot of the darker feelings in me."
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1213 GMT (2013 HKT)
Phil Mickelson of the United States talks during a press conference after the United States were defeated by Europe after the Singles Matches of the 2014 Ryder Cup on the PGA Centenary course at the Gleneagles Hotel on September 28, 2014 in Auchterarder, Scotland.
If you're a U.S. golf fan, or Tom Watson, look away now.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
A ban on uploading social media pictures from the course at Gleneagles was dropped for the Ryder Cup.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1052 GMT (1852 HKT)
A spot of shopping, the odd spa day and some serious flag waving. Welcome to the life of a Ryder Cup WAG.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1301 GMT (2101 HKT)
Tom Watson has learned plenty in the 21 years since he was last U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but social media is proving to be problematic.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1243 GMT (2043 HKT)
Patriotism will reach fever pitch when the USA and Europe collide in golf's Ryder Cup ... and it looks like Rickie Fowler has let it go to his head.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Pressure is inescapable in the cauldron of Ryder Cup competition -- pressure and ping pong.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1150 GMT (1950 HKT)
Millions of golf fans were watching on television with great anticipation. All Martin Kaymer could think about was getting his phone out.
ADVERTISEMENT