Tiger Woods vs Rory McIlroy Match at Mission Hills 2013: Live Stream and Preview

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIOctober 25, 2013

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 15:  Tiger Woods of the USA (L) and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland interlock arms whilst drinking coffee during a photocall prior to the start of The Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 15, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Golf enthusiasts have to be giddy about "The Match"—a forthcoming one-on-one showdown between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy on the Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Haikou on Oct. 28.

That date is actually on Sunday, Oct. 27 for U.S. audiences.

Adding to the excitement is the presence of 14-year-old prodigy Tianlang Guan, who will participate in a skills competition with the pair in China before their 18-hole clash commences.

When McIlroy was at the height of his powers in two eight-stroke major victories, Woods was an afterthought.

It looked as though the Northern Irishman was poised to take over the game of golf from his childhood idol after an outstanding 2012 campaign, but Woods dispelled that notion this year as McIlroy struggled.

That helps explain the rather long odds against McIlroy winning:

Woods has reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking, while McIlroy saw himself slip to No. 6 without a win in 2013.

Hey, at least when McIlroy made the transition to Nike, the two charismatic stars were able to put on one of the more memorable golf advertisements in recent memory:

Things may be looking up for the Northern Irishman, though, because McIlroy came in a tie for second at the Kolon Korea Open in his last start.

One way to measure one's game is to take on arguably the best player of all time in Woods in an exclusive duel.

These two squared off in a similar exhibition at Jinsha Lake last October, and Woods lost to McIlroy by one stroke. The two were wired for sound and will be this time around too, which is an added incentive for fans to watch.

Let's take a look at when the action gets underway and where to catch updates. Then, I'll give a brief preview of the match, including a prediction as to who will come out on top in China.


When: Sunday, Oct. 27 (U.S.)

Where: Blackstone Course at Mission Hills in Haikou, China

Live Stream and Blog: Back9Network.com


Preview and Prediction

/Getty Images

The par-73 layout of Mission Hills offers the players a great opportunity to showcase their power.

A lot of Woods' dominance over the years has been the result of capitalizing at an outstanding level on par-fives, but McIlroy has the length to turn those into easy birdies as well.

At 7,808 yards set atop lava rock, though, this is a course unlike any Woods and McIlroy have ever seen. That's saying something, since both have played the very best the world has to offer.

So while the intimidating length shouldn't give them too much trouble, it will all come down to who can score best around the greens.

While McIlroy may have the advantage with longer clubs in his hand, Woods has had the superior touch with wedges, in the short game and with the flat iron this season.

Woods did offer the younger superstar some words of encouragement last week, hinting that it would only be a matter of time before McIlroy reascended to challenge him, per Sky Sports:

He hasn't played as well as he has in prior years, but he's still ranked pretty high. I think he's either fifth or sixth in the world. A lot of guys don't even get that high.

I think give him a little bit more time, I think he's starting to put the pieces together, starting to play a little bit more.

He showed some really good signs towards the end of the season that the things he's working on are starting to come together.

Tiger Woods? Killing the kid with kindness? Only to an extent.

As hypercompetitive as Woods is, it would not be surprising to see him avenge last year's loss to McIlroy with a two-stroke victory in this one.

Prediction: Woods shoots a three-under 70; beats McIlroy by two strokes.


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