The first round of the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final didn’t unfold as expected – especially for tournament organizers.
Or, worse, having their highly anticipated showdown rendered meaningless.
“I have to take care of my match and we’ll see in the afternoon,” Woods said, according to the Irish Times. “’We have to both win in the morning. We’re the two highest-ranked players in the world right now, and it will be a fun match either way, but it will obviously be a lot better if we both win in the morning.”
Players in this eight-man exhibition are separated in two groups of four. The top two points-earners – full point for a win, half point for a halved match – from each group advance to Thursday’s semifinals at Antalya Golf Club in Belek, Turkey.
Making his first appearance since the Ryder Cup, Woods made a triple bogey on the ninth hole, fought back to square the match on 17, then flew his approach way long on 18, leading to a bogey for a round of 70 and an early loss to Schwartzel (69).
Kuchar dominated world No. 1 McIlroy, shooting 70 to the Northern Irishman’s 76 to open up with a victory. McIlroy's round included a triple bogey and a pair of double bogeys.
In the other two matches, Rose (71) handed Mahan (75) a loss, and Westwood chipped in on 17 and then made par on the final hole to eke out a one-stroke win over Simpson.
The pairings for Wednesday (all times ET):
1:30 a.m.: Lee Westwood vs. Justin Rose
1:40 a.m.: Hunter Mahan vs. Webb Simpson
1:50 a.m.: Rory McIlroy vs. Charl Schwartzel
2 a.m.: Tiger Woods vs. Matt Kuchar
6 a.m.: Justin Rose vs. Webb Simpson
6:10 a.m.: Lee Westwood vs. Hunter Mahan
6:20 a.m.: Charl Schwartzel vs. Matt Kuchar
6:30 a.m.: Rory McIlroy vs. Tiger Woods