Tiger Woods vs. Rory McIlroy: 'The Match at Mission Hills' in China Announced

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2013

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are set to play a high-profile exhibition match in China for the second straight year. This time, they will play at Mission Hills, a monster par-73 course that will seriously challenge two of the world's top golfers. 

Jon Ackerman of Back9Network.com provides the details:

"The Match at Mission Hills" marks the second straight year Woods and McIlroy will meet up in the world's most populous country for a duel. The 2013 event—Oct. 28 in Haikou, China—will be streamed live exclusively on Back9Network.com and YouTube to countries outside the U.S. and Canada (PGA Tour rules restrict broadcasting an event such as this in those two countries).

According to the report, caddies for both players will wear microphones during the round, providing a deeper look at life inside the ropes for Woods and McIlroy.

Last year, McIlroy edged Woods at Jinsha Lake thanks to a spotless 67. But it seems that Woods, who's already won five tournaments, has the advantage in the 2013 season. The Northern Irishman hasn't captured any titles during an up-and-down year.

The pair has developed a friendly rivalry. They have struggled to find top form at the same time, thereby limiting the amount of head-to-head matchups, especially late in tournaments. But that makes things like "The Match at Mission Hills" even more interesting.

Of course, there's also financial incentive for the players to take part. Sky Sports reports the prize for the duel is expected to be $2 million, and the outlet passed along comments from both players, who are looking forward to the battle in late October.

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"I'm hoping to win this time," said Woods. "We both played well last year, but Rory got me by one. I've had a really good year on the PGA Tour, so it would be nice to earn another trophy in China."

Added McIlroy:

We had a lot fun last year and I'm expecting the same again this time in Hainan.

Tiger has played the better golf this year, but I feel like I'm getting my game back again and I enjoy any challenge, especially against Tiger, so I'm ready for another showdown.

Even though McIlroy is right in saying he's been rediscovering his game recently, it's hard to pick against Woods given his strong season. Skeptics will point to the lack of a major, but he's won five events while nobody else on the PGA Tour has more than two victories.

If he keeps playing that well in the coming years, the major championships will start falling his way again. But first, both players have to worry about good performances in the remaining portion of the FedEx Cup playoffs, which continue with the BMW Championship on Sept. 12-15.

Then "The Match at Mission Hills" can take center stage during the offseason.

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