February 27 2013
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have been talking about playing together for a while.
"We were kind of hoping it wouldn't be that Sunday," Woods said of their match over the weekend at nearby Medalist, where Woods is a member. "But we were both free."
Free because both were first-round exits at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship last week in Arizona.
McIlroy saw Woods in the parking lot as the two were exiting Dove Mountain, texts were exchanged and the two set up a match for Sunday morning in advance of this week's Honda Classic, where McIlroy is the defending champion.
"We thought we would play our own match-play final," joked McIlroy, who lost the first 18 holes to Woods before winning the second 18 in what he described as speed golf.
It was the first time McIlroy, who recently moved to Palm Beach Gardens and is a member at The Bear's Club, had played Medalist.
"We played quick," McIlroy continued. "He putts with the pin in. It was good. It was really enjoyable."
Woods has struck up a bit of a friendship with McIlroy in recent months and the two text regularly with McIlroy often picking the brain of the 14-time major champion.
Though it's not quite the same sort of relationship that Woods had with older players like Mark O'Meara and John Cook when he first came out on TOUR.
"Those guys really took me under their wing," Woods said. "Went out to dinner all the time and basically traveled together on TOUR, went fishing all the time. It's a different type of relationship."
As for the early exit from the WGC-Accenture Match Play, Woods wasn't terribly concerned. After all, a year ago here he nearly chased down McIlroy with a final-round 62, he's already won once this year and says he's playing well.
"Unfortunately I ran into a guy who also played well, actually better than I did," he said. "That's just the nature of the business in that format."