Rory McIlroy was knocked out of contention on a rain-lashed day at the World Golf Final on Wednesday and could only hope to restore pride when he tackled Tiger Woods in yesterday’s third round.
The pair were scheduled to meet on Wednesday, but the encounter was pushed back a day after a fierce electrical storm began lashing the Atalya Golf Club in Belek, Turkey, forcing afternoon play to be abandoned.
In any case, McIlroy cannot progress to the semi-finals of the US$7 million event after losing his second match to former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel.
McIlroy’s level-par round of 71 left him a stroke behind the South African, the Northern Irishman having already left organizers red-faced after losing his first-round encounter to the US’ Matt Kuchar.
In a near duplication of the final round of last year’s Masters, Schwartzel birdied three of his closing four holes to come from behind to beat McIlroy before the rain came down on Wednesday.
“I played a bit better than yesterday [Tuesday], but then Charl birdied three of the last four holes and you can’t really do much about that,” said McIlroy, who is assured of a US$300,000 prize check even if he loses to Woods, while a win would see him presented with US$450,000.
“So in my match now against Tiger, I will be out to get back a bit of pride and at least leave here winning one match. It will be exciting to play against him as he still has the chance to go through, so he will be looking to win his match,” McIlroy said.
“I now don’t have much to play for, so I would like to beat him so he doesn’t go through to the semi-finals and also get some bragging rights. Of course, there is always an added edge when you play against a player like Tiger, and there were a few chances this year when we could have gone head-to-head in the bigger tournaments, but it didn’t quite happen,” he added. “So I am still looking forward to next season when he can go head-to-head down the stretch. And bragging rights from this week will help a little bit.”
Meanwhile, Woods shot a four-under-par 67 to defeat Ryder Cup colleague and world No. 15 Kuchar by five strokes.
In other round two matches on Wednesday morning, Justin Rose defeated fellow Englishman Lee Westwood with a round of 66 to Westwood’s 69.
Reigning US Open champion Webb Simpson recorded his first win in the event and left Hunter Mahan winless with a score of 65 to Mahan’s 67.
The threat of thunderstorms forced all the scheduled afternoon matches to be pushed back to yesterday.
The leading two players in each group are to advance to the semi-final. The fifth and sixth-place finishers will each receive US$450,000, while seventh