WATCH: Rory McIlroy suffers a meltdown against Tiger Woods in Match Play

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WATCH: Rory McIlroy suffers a meltdown against Tiger Woods in Match Play

PGA Tour

WATCH: Rory McIlroy suffers a meltdown against Tiger Woods in Match Play

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AUSTIN, Texas – Rory McIlroy’s visit to the 16th hole at Austin Country Club started well enough – a 395-yard drive uphill.

It ended with a wave of concession to Tiger Woods.

Everything that happened in between those two occurrences in Saturday’s Sweet 16 match against Tiger Woods left onlookers stunned and McIlroy shook and angry enough that he refused to talk with the media after he lost the match, 2 and 1, on the next hole.

Just as quickly as conditions changed when a storm front moved in 90 minutes earlier, McIlroy’s fortunes took a turn for the worse with an errant approach on the par-5 hole. With just 172 yards to go, and momentum on his side, McIlroy pushed his short iron and left himself in a delicate position just a yard outside a greenside bunker.

Woods, meanwhile, whose once 3-up lead was down to 1 up, had been forced to lay up after his drive came to rest against a wall in a bunker. His third reached the green and he stood by as McIlroy started to unravel.

With one foot in the bunker and 35 yards to the hole, McIlroy’s chip flew the green and the ball bounced through the crowd, across a cart path and then came to rest against wooden planks. After deliberating with a rules official and seeing his options, McIlroy, as he was allowed to do, returned to the spot from where he hit his third shot and took a penalty drop.

From there, his fifth shot was short and went into a bunker. His sixth shot was much better, but it didn’t go into the hole. Thus, he waved to Woods, conceding the hole and going 2 down with two to play.

Both made par on the par-3 17th and the match was over.

McIlroy later apologized for declining interviews after the match.

“I want to apologize to the media for not giving them any of my time after the match this morning. Although I was disappointed with how the match ended, I showed real patience and persistence to claw a couple holes back on the back 9, then squandered a great opportunity to get back to all square on 16,” he wrote on Instagram. “Definitely one I let get away but I’ll learn and move on. I wish Tiger the best for the rest of the tournament, he made a couple of clutch putts on 15 and 17 to shut the door. See everyone at Augusta.”

It was a bad ending to what had been a brilliant week for McIlroy. He only lost three holes in his first three matches, made 16 birdies and an eagle, and never trailed. Against Woods, McIlroy made just two birdies and missed four putts inside 10 feet.

Shortly after the match, McIlroy quickly walked past assembled media in the parking lot and left the grounds.

 

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