Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas fired seven birdies in 10 holes en route to beating Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy 3&2 in the latest instalment of The Match, a charity exhibition held at Pelican Golf Club in Florida.
Woods and McIlroy were outgunned in all departments of the match, which was due to be played over 12 holes, but only went as far as the 10th due to the one-sided nature of the contest.
All four players were mic’d up and using custom carts for the floodlit match, which was Woods’ first televised appearance since missing the cut at The Open in July after sitting out last week’s Hero World Challenge due to injury.
“Tiger and Rory, what happened?” Thomas and Spieth said on Twitter after the win. “How do you lose to us two? It’s alright, everybody does!”
Woods admitted he had not hit a golf ball for over two weeks ahead of the contest due to plantar fasciitis, although he got up and down from just short of the green at the driveable par-four first to tie the hole with a birdie.
Thomas drained a long-range birdie at the second and Spieth rolled in from 15 feet at the par-three next, while Thomas two-putted from off the green using a five-wood for a winning par in the one-club challenge hole.
McIlroy missed a 12-foot birdie try to win the next and the teams claimed a share of the sixth with pars, before the world No 1 drained a 20-footer at the seventh to win the only hole of the contest for him and Woods. Thomas restored their advantage on the very next hole, rolling in from 12 feet for birdie, with Spieth then matching Woods and McIlroy’s birdie on the 10th to seal the victory.
The contest was the seventh edition of The Match and third appearance for Woods, having been beaten by Phil Mickelson in the inaugural event in 2018 and partnering Peyton Manning to victory in the 2020 contest.