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 to Thursday with the semifinals 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 shot a 1-under 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 a 67 to defeat Kuchar by five strokes. Woods fell to Schwartzel by one shot on Tuesday.
The top-ranked McIlroy has no 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, 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. So I am still looking forward to next season when we can go head-to-head down the stretch — and bragging rights from this week will help a little bit.”
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, hit a 65 to Mahan’s 67 for his first victory, leaving his fellow American winless.