BELEK, Turkey — The anticipated showdown between Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods at the World Golf Finals on Wednesday was pushed back a day because of thunderstorms at the Sultan course.
Torrential rain began lashing Antalya Golf Club shortly after the morning matches in the eight-player event were completed, forcing organizers to postpone the four afternoon matches until today with the semifinals to be staged afterward.
The other abandoned matches were: Justin Rose vs. Webb Simpson, Lee Westwood vs. Hunter Mahan and Charl Schwartzel vs. Matt Kuchar.
On Wednesday, Schwartzel birdied three of his last four holes to shoot 1-under-par 70 to McIlroy’s 71.
“You can’t really do much about that,” said McIlroy, adding: “I played bit a better than yesterday.”
Woods recorded his first victory at the exhibition tournament with 67 to defeat Kuchar by five strokes. Woods fell to Schwartzel by one shot on Tuesday.
The top-ranked McIlroy has only an outside chance of advancing in the $5.2 million event after losing by six shots to Kuchar on Tuesday and by one stroke to Schwartzel in the medal match-play format.
“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,” 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 semifinals and also to get some bragging rights.”
“There is always an added edge when you play against a player like Tiger.”
Victory for McIlroy over Woods would bring him $450,000 in prize money. Even a loss to the 14-time major winner will carry a $300,000 check.
In other morning matches, Rose defeated Westwood with a round of 66 to his European Ryder Cup teammate’s 69. Simpson, the U.S. Open champion, had 65 to Mahan’s 67 for his first victory, leaving his fellow American winless.
TRACKING TIGER: Woods will consider joining the European Tour after changes are made to membership qualification.
The European Tour is expected to announce soon that participation in the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and Seve Trophy will count toward the 13 events needed for tour membership.
Woods says he last looked into joining the European Tour in 2000 when the requirement was 11 events.
He says, “I will again look at it.”