Tiger Woods, snuffling and swearing about a cold he’s been coping with for a week, came up one shot shy of Nike stablemate Rory McIlroy on Monday in a bank account-stuffing rematch of the duo’s 2012 "Duel at Jinsha Lake" exhibition in China.
McIlroy, winless in official competition for 2013 and coming off a T27 finish at the European Tour’s BMW Masters on Sunday, reportedly put on a shot-making clinic in firing a 6-under 67 to Woods’ 68 in a "Match at Mission Hills" that, according to Reuters, lined the pocket of each contender to the tune of $1.5 million.
"He schooled me twice," Woods jokingly told Reuters after losing by a single stroke for the second straight year to his younger mate, who pooh-poohed such a notion.
"Well, I don't know about that," McIlroy responded. "I beat you by one shot twice."
Miked for sound during the round, Woods, who said he contracted a cold from his kids and had to shake off some rust after a three-week hiatus from golf since the Presidents Cup, reportedly forced TV broadcasters to apologize for dropping the f-bomb as he struggled with the sniffles.
Tiger and Rory, who became besties last year, yukked it up throughout the 18 holes on a shortened Blackstone Course that both players torched for a bunch of birdies, a couple of eagles, and a near albatross for two-time major champ McIlroy.
"I enjoyed it," said Woods, who, prior to the contest, responded publicly for the first time to Brandel Chamblee’s comments about his serial penalties during the 2013 season. "We didn't play probably our best on the front nine but on the back nine we got it going."