Rain halts play at Turkish Airlines World Final after morning matches

Rory McIlroy at the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final
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Rory McIlroy coldn't get his putts to drop in a Wednesday morning loss to Charl Schwartzel.
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PGA.com news services

Series: Other Tour

Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 | 12:04 p.m.

BELEK, Turkey -- The anticipated showdown between Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods at the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final on Wednesday was pushed back a day because of thunderstorms at the PGA Sultan Course at Antalya Golf Club.

Torrential rain began lashing down 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 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, 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, had a 65 to Mahan's 67 for his first victory, leaving his fellow American winless.

McIlroy chipped in for birdie on the final hole of his second group match Wednesday morning, only to see Schwartzel follow him in from 12 feet.

That meant a one-shot victory for the South African (70 to 71) and a second straight defeat for McIlroy, who was left needing to beat Tiger Woods and see Schwartzel beat Matt Kuchar to have any chance of making the semifinals.

"It looks like I'll get to spend a day on the beach tomorrow, which will be nice," McIlroy said after losing to former Masters champion Schwartzel, only to see those plans change when the rains came later in the day.

"It was actually a decent match," McIlroy added. "I felt like I played a bit better today, had plenty of chances and just didn't really hole much.

"I got off to a better start and Charl played solid and then birdied three of the last four so I couldn't really do much about that."

Schwartzel, who has been hampered by various injuries this season, has now beaten the world's top two players back to back.

"Any time you can do that, it's going to give you a lot of confidence," he said. "I've not had the best of years and decided to have a better attitude towards the game and this certainly helps."

Woods had lost to Schwartzel Tuesday, but today beat Ryder Cup teammate Kuchar by five shots with a round of 4-under 67.

"It felt good," said Woods. "I didn't start great with a double bogey on the second and a bogey on four, but after that I played well."

The scoring system -- with one point for a win in each 18-hole medal match play contest -- means that all eight players remain in with a chance of reaching the semifinals.

Wins for Schwartzel and McIlroy on Thursday would see Schwartzel through to the semifinals on three points with McIlroy, Woods and Kuchar all on one point in Group One. The lowest aggregate score for each player's three matches would then be used to break the tie, with one player joining Schwartzel in the last four.

The same scenario could also unfold in Group Two, with Rose top with two points after beating Westwood (66 to 69), and Simpson (65) joining Westwood on one point by beating Mahan (67).