No Turkish delight for Rory McIlroy
The eagerly-anticipated showdown between Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, washed out by a thunderstorm yesterday, proved something of a damp squib at the Turkish Airlines World Golf final today.
McIlroy had lost both of his opening matches in Antalya - to Matt Kuchar and Charl Schwartzel - and needed to beat Woods this morning and hope other scores and results went his way to have any chance of reaching this afternoon's semi-finals.
But the world number one never looked like keeping his half of the bargain from the moment his tee shot on the first hole found a water hazard, the 23-year-old eventually carding a round of 70 to lose by six shots to Woods (64).
Schwartzel (63) beat Kuchar (65) in the other game in Group One to make it three wins out of three and set up a semi-final with Lee Westwood, who finished runner-up in Group Two after shooting a 64 to beat Hunter Mahan (69).
The best golf on a low-scoring day came from Justin Rose, who carded a nine-under-par 62 in beating Webb Simpson to top Group Two and set up a last-four clash with Woods.
McIlroy at least had the consolation of taking away USD 300,000 (£187,000) for his efforts, which works out at USD 1,382 (£863) per shot, so it was perhaps not surprising that he was not overly disappointed with his early exit.
"Not really, I've got an afternoon by the pool, I don't mind," McIlroy said. "I knew I was going to have an afternoon off anyway so I was just going out and playing. I never really had any expectations.
"I've treated this week as it's great to come here, nice weather, play a bit of golf, I get to spend some time with Caroline (Wozniacki) - I viewed it as a week like that. I didn't touch a club until the first day."
Asked about the form of Woods, McIlroy added: "I never say good shot as much as when I play with Tiger.
"He is so solid from tee to green and he basically didn't hole much out there today and still shot seven under. I've said it all year, he's there, he's playing well and he is going to win tournaments and contend in majors."
Woods, who won just half a point from four matches in the Ryder Cup at Medinah, added: "It felt good. I really hit the ball well and missed quite a few putts out there so it could have been a really low number.
"I got off to a quick start and Rory hit it into the water on the first and got behind the eight ball a little. Once I got a big enough lead I thought just make one more birdie and a few pars and it would put a lot of pressure on Rory to come back at me."
Westwood admitted he had thought about shooting a sub-60 round after five birdies and an eagle - his drive on the short par-four fifth finished 10ft from the hole - on the front nine.
"I thought I had gone out in 29 but then realised it was a par-71 and I was out in 28," Westwood said. "A low number was going through my mind but then I hit a couple of poor shots on 10 and 11 and that blew that."
The eight players had been a combined 44 under par in the morning matches, but were struggling to maintain that standard in the semi-finals.
Westwood was two under after eight thanks to an eagle, two birdies and a double-bogey, and led by one from Schwartzel, while Woods was one over after seven but still one ahead of Rose.