BELEK, Turkey — The eagerly anticipated matchup between Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods might not count for much after both lost their opening matches Tuesday at the eight-player Turkish Airlines World Golf Final.
McIlroy lost to Matt Kuchar by six shots and Woods fell to Charl Schwartzel by one shot in Group 1 of the $5.3 million exhibition event on the PGA Sultan Course at Antalya Golf Club.
TURKISH AIRLINES WORLD GOLF FINAL
The inaugural Turkish Airlines World Golf Final is an eight-player medal-match-play exhibition tournament with a total purse of $5.3 million.
In Group 2 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 will receive $1.5 million, with the last-place finishers receiving $300,000. The event is considered unofficial, so the earnings won't count toward any money list and no world ranking points will be awarded.
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 started well, then 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.
"Being able to come to an event like this that is a little more relaxed is just great to be able to throw shorts on," he said.