Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas edged Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose in the first-ever Payne’s Valley Cup, played at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri to stamp the kickoff of Woods’ first-since public course design.
Woods and Thomas joined in a Ryder Cup-style match against a couple of previous world No. 1s from Europe, with the match isolated into three sections. The initial six-hole segment, won by McIlroy and Rose, was played using best-ball format. Nos. 7-12 highlighted interchange shot and saw the Americans strike back to tie the match at one point each, setting up a singles’ confrontation over the home stretch.
Woods went head to head against Rose in a singles coordinate, while Thomas conflicted with McIlroy. Those two points were likewise split, with Rose beating Woods, 1 up, and Thomas beating McIlroy, 2 up. The two matches finished on the beautiful 123-yard, standard 3 nineteenth hole at Payne’s Valley, and with the match tied 2-2 Woods and Thomas got the success by goodness of a nearest to-the-pin sudden death round after Thomas hit his last shot inside 9 feet.
“Anytime that we can get together and have a fun time, it’s awesome and for a great cause,” Thomas said.
The match highlighted a blend of shot-production, chat and junk talk, with each of the four players mic’d up for the whole round and prepared to decompress following a tiresome U.S. Open. The 18-hole charity exhibition, which raised funds for the Stewart Family Foundation, is relied upon to be Woods’ just competitive appearance until he defends his Zozo Championship title at Sherwood Country Club in late October.
In any case, Woods wore the cap of both competitor and course architect Tuesday, indicating a couple of his beautified peers around a grand format in the Ozarks which has been a project for him since he declared design plans for the course, an homage to Payne Stewart, in mid 2017.
“I’m just so proud of everyone that came together to make all this possible,” Woods said. “To have everyone here, it’s awfully special for me.”