BELEK, Turkey — The anticipated matchup between Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods today might not count for much after both lost their opening matches at the eight-player World Golf Finals.
McIlroy lost to Matt Kuchar by six shots and Woods fell to 2011 Masters Tournament champion Charl Schwartzel by one shot on Tuesday in the $5.2 million event at the Sultan course.
In the other group of the medal match-play format, Lee Westwood beat Webb Simpson by one shot and Justin Rose defeated Hunter Mahan by four strokes.
McIlroy and Woods – ranked No. 1 and No. 2 – face each other today in the last of their three group matches, but both could already be eliminated by then. The top two in each group will advance to the semifinals.
In this morning’s matches, McIlroy will face Schwartzel and Woods will play Kuchar.
The event allows players to wear shorts, and Westwood, Schwartzel, Mahan and Kuchar chose to do so. All but Mahan won their matches.
HONORS ABOUND: McIlroy already is assured of at least two more awards this year.
McIlroy officially has wrapped up the Arnold Palmer Award for leading the PGA Tour money list at $8,047,952, the seventh-highest total in tour history. He also has clinched the PGA of America’s Player of the Year Award, which is based on points. McIlroy had four wins this year, including the PGA Championship.
Still to be tabulated is the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted scoring average, although McIlroy is a lock for that, too, because he has more than a half-stroke lead over Jim Furyk (68.87 to 69.41). Woods is ineligible for the Vardon because he withdrew in the middle of the final round at Doral this year.
The Jack Nicklaus Award for PGA Tour Player of the Year is a vote of his peers. Those ballots won’t go out until after Disney, though it’s hard to imagine anyone topping McIlroy winning four times, a major, and the money title in just 16 tournaments.
McIlroy would be the second consecutive European, and the third in the past five years, to win that award. Luke Donald won in 2011 and Padraig Harrington won in 2008.
BURGESS CUP: A year after determining one of the best golfers in the world, The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island will determine which country club in the United States has the best players.
Organizers announced Tuesday the course that played host to the PGA Championship in 2012 will also play host to a competition called The Burgess Cup starting Oct. 4, 2013.
The three-day, invitation only event will invite teams of eight players from the top 16 country clubs in the United States.
The first two days will feature match play and stroke play, with the tournament culminating in a final head-to-head match.
McIlroy won the PGA Championship on The Ocean Course in August.