5 Things: Tiger blows past McIlroy, but fails to make finale
ANTALYA, Tukey -- In what turned out to be a dud of a "showdown" between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy - Tiger won the match by six shots - it was a day that featured the No. 1 player in the world struggle mightily, while Lee Westwood and Justin Rose have earned our attention with nice wins at the Turkey to set up a Saturday finale between the two Englishmen.
Here are 5 Things to take away from Day 3 at the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final:
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DIDN”T LOOK LIKE WORLD NO. 1
Rory McIlroy did nothing to hurt his position as World No. 1 in the rankings, but he did little to prove he deserved the spot either.
Since there are no world ranking points this week in Turkey, McIlroy lost nothing for his 0-3 outcome, losing to Matt Kuchar, Charl Schwartzel and Tiger Woods in what was billed as the marque match of the week.
But McIlroy seemed resigned to the fact that he was not going to move on no matter what occurred on Thursday morning against Woods and while he had his best day of scoring this week - a 1-under 70 - he lost to Woods by six shots and was never really in the match.
“I've got an afternoon by the pool,” Was McIlroy’s response when asked about if he was disappointed. “I don't mind.”
In his three matches, McIlroy was 4 over and never broke 70 on the par-71 layout at the PGA Sultan Course.
Now McIlroy will have a couple of week off before it’s for real again, but it is clear that the 23-year-old is running out of steam in 2012.
“I've still got some big events left and I'd love to win the Race to Dubai, so I've still got one last push,” McIlroy said. “But it's been a great season. I'm ready to be done. It's such a long season these days, and I feel like I've got an obligation to play some of these events leading up to Dubai, and I want to ‑‑ personally want to finish the season off well and try and win the Race to Dubai because I've come close a couple times.”
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THE EAGLE HAS LANDED
Tiger Woods had no problem dispatching McIlroy on Thursday morning, but Justin Rose was a more difficult task. Both Rose and Woods started slowly with just one birdie each on the front nine, but two bogeys to turn at 1-over.
The match heated up as Woods birdied the 10th and took a two-shot lead with a Rose bogey on the 12th, but it all changed when the Englishman went birdie-eagle on the 13th and 14th holes, seemingly shaking Woods.
When Rose’s second shot hit the green and spun back in the hole on the 14th, Woods with little left hit his approach shot over the green and suddenly was down in the match.
“That was a big switch right there,” Woods said of Rose’s one-shot victory in their match. “I was 2 up at the time and all of the sudden I’m 1 down with four to go.”
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Lee Westwood had a great Thursday in Turkey. Needing a win and a Webb Simpson loss in the morning third-round matches, Westwood took care of business in grand fashion turning in 7-under 28 and cruising to a five-shot victory over Hunter Mahan with a 7-under 64.
Thinking of a 59 when he made the turn, Westwood made a bogey on the par-4 11th hole to take the steam out of the round.
Then the Englishman did a little better in the afternoon over previously undefeated Charl Schwartzel, with eight birdies and two eagles to shot a 10-under 61 to find himself in the finals on Friday.
“I got on a role and the hole started to look bigger and bigger," Westwood said of his 17-under performance in two rounds on Thursday. “It’s been a while since the hole has started to look that big.”
As part of his 17 birdies and three eagles on Thursday, Westwood showed some short game magic that has been missing over most of his career with a chip-ins and a hole-out from the bunker.
The last time Westwood remembers putting two rounds together this low was in Thailand in 2011, when he went 20 under for the tournament.
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IT JUST KEEPS GETTING EASIER
The PGA Sultan Course, Antalya Golf Club was a brute in Tuesday’s first round with only Charl Schwartzel breaking 70 and the scoring average with some of the best players in the world at 1-over 72.
But that was Tuesday; it was a little breeze, tough hole locations, speedy green and a new golf course. In the next two matches and the semifinals the players have lit up the Sultan Course to the tune of 66.9, or more than four shots under par.
In that stretch only one player didn’t break par, Matt Kuchar’s 72 in the second round and there were 15 rounds in the 60s including two 65s, two 64s, a 63, 62 and Westwood’s 61 in the semis.
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FOUR WENT HOME
Don’t cry for the losers. Both Webb Simpson and Matt Kuchar will get $450,000 for their three days of work and Hunter Mahan and Rory McIlroy get $300,000 for not earning a point.
The losing semi-finalist, Tiger Woods and Charl Schwtzel receive $600,000 with the runner-up on Friday pocketing $1 million and the winner $1.5 million.