Tiger Woods bounced back from a disappointing Day 1 performance to defeat Matt Kuchar today at the World Golf Final, but weather did not allow him to carry his momentum into a showdown with Rory McIlroy.
In yesterday's loss to Charl Schwartzel, Woods faltered in the front nine before making a late surge to catch his opponent heading to the 18th hole. But a bogey to close out the day cost Woods a point.
Seemingly motivated from the disappointing defeat, Woods played an excellent round to start Day 2 of the tournament, which will award $1.5 million to the winner.
Woods shot a 67 at Antalya Golf Club in Turkey today, earning a victory over Kuchar and giving him a significantly better chance at advancing to the semifinals.
The only match in the group stage Woods has left to play is against Rory McIlroy. This clash between the world’s top-ranked golfers is certainly the marquee event of the tournament, but the drama was delayed a day by storms, as noted by PGA.com. The match is reset for Thursday.
McIlroy has not played well in Turkey thus far, losing both of his matches. He had a rough time on the back nine yesterday, hitting a triple bogey and two double bogeys, and ended up losing to Kuchar after shooting a 76.
Today, the young Northern Irishman lost to Schwartzel, who had three birdies in the final four holes to win 71-70.
Through two of the three matches in Group A, Schwartzel is in the lead with two points from his two wins, while Woods and Kuchar each have a point apiece. McIlroy is at the bottom of the standings with no points.
But Woods is technically ahead of Kuchar due to a superior overall score in his two rounds thus far. Barring a spectacular performance from Kuchar, Woods would likely finish as one of the top two players in the group with a win over McIlroy, earning him a semifinal birth.
Given the form Woods displayed today, compared to McIlroy’s continued struggles, a sizable pay day is certainly within reach for the 14-time major winner.