McIlroy, Woods lose opening matches in Turkey
Tiger Woods, right, lost his opening match to Charl Schwartzel at the eight-player World Golf Finals in Turkey's resort city of Antalya on Tuesday. (Photo: İHA)
The eagerly anticipated matchup between Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods may not count for much after both lost their opening matches Tuesday at the eight-player World Golf Finals.
McIlroy lost to Matt Kuchar by six shots and Woods fell to Charl Schwartzel by one shot in the $5.2 million event at the Sultan course in Antalya.
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 in the world - face each other Wednesday 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.
The winner of the event, sponsored by Turkish Airways, will receive $1.5 million.
In Wednesday's morning matches, McIlroy will face Schwartzel and Woods will play Kuchar.
"I need to win both of my matches tomorrow if I am to advance," McIlroy said. "I just struggled for a bit of motivation out there so I need to go out and concentrate on both of my matches tomorrow."
McIlroy unraveled against Kuchar with a triple bogey at the 15th hole and double bogeys at 16 and 17.
"I hit a drive into the trees on 15 and lost a bit of confidence," McIlroy said.
Kuchar, after taking a bogey at the first, birdied the next two holes and was never behind.
"I just thought I had to play mistake-free and hopefully Rory wouldn't get too hot," the American said. "There we are all-square with four to go, he hits it right and makes triple bogey, and I go three up with three to go and I think both of us lost a little interest at that point."
Woods and Schwartzel were all-square going to the 18th, where the American went into a greenside bunker and finished with a bogey.
"It came right down to the wire but I can't believe how far that second shot flew into the back bunker and that was the match," Woods said. "'It means now that I have to play 'Kooch' and try and win that match before facing Rory in the afternoon."
The event allows players to wear shorts, and four - Westwood, Schwartzel, Mahan and Kuchar - chose to do so. All but Mahan won their matches.
Westwood wore a red shirt and white shorts in tribute to his favorite football club, Nottingham Forest.
"Them are footballers legs," Westwood said. "I could still play for Forest with these legs."
Kuchar said he was happy to wear shorts again after spending the week after the Ryder Cup with his family in Greece.