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Again, Tom Gillis can't beat the No. 1 player in the world. This time, it only cost him $50

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Tom Gillis has a habit of losing to the best in the world.

The Lake Orion native's two closest calls with winning on the PGA Tour came at the 2012 Honda Classic and the 2015 John Deere Classic.

In 2012, playing in the final group, he lost by two shots to Rory McIlroy, who with that win would go on to be the No. 1-ranked player in the world. Gillis finished tied for second, with some guy named Tiger Woods.

Tom Gillis' two closest calls with winning on the PGA Tour came at the 2012 Honda Classic and the 2015 John Deere Classic.

Then, in 2015, Gillis found himself in a playoff with Jordan Spieth, who already had won that year's Masters and U.S. Open and was the No. 1-ranked player in the world. Spieth beat Gillis on the second playoff hole, when Gillis' approach from the right rough found the greenside water.

Well, some things never change.

About a month ago, Gillis was getting in some practice at The Bear's Club, Jack Nicklaus' course in Jupiter, Florida. In his foursome were McIlroy; Ann Arbor's Otto Black, who plays on the Latinoamerica Tour; and Stephen Grant, a mini-tour player.

It was Gillis and Black against McIlroy and Grant.

"We played for 50 bucks," Gillis said, "and we had a blast."

Gillis and Black actually were 2-up on McIlroy and Grant through 12 holes.

Then McIlroy, yet again the No. 1-ranked player in the world, birdied the last seven holes to win the match.

Yet again, Gillis' day was spoiled by the best golfer on the planet — for at least the third time in a golf career that spans decades, and now includes his play on the currently suspended Champions Tour.

"I know!" Gillis told The Detroit News' "Green Room" podcast this week. "I told him, 'You know, this is getting old. You never show me any respect.' "

Easing the sting: The difference between first and second this time was $50, compared to 2012, when the difference between first and second at the Honda was more than $500,000. Same for the 2015 John Deere.

All major golf tours are suspended through at least mid-May, including the PGA Tour, Champions Tour and Korn Ferry Tour. The LPGA Tour also is suspended.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter.com: @tonypaul1984