Tiger Woods at World Golf Final 2012: Day 3 Recap and Analysis

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2012

ANTALYA, TURKEY - OCTOBER 11:  Tiger Woods of the USA plays his second shot into the 15th green during his match against Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland on day three of the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final at the Antalya GC on October 11, 2012 in Antalya, Turkey.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Warren Little/Getty Images

Tiger Woods played some of his finest golf on Thursday at the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final. And then he played something far less than that and was eliminated in the semifinals.

It was a day of contrasts for Woods.

He started off the day with some of his finest golf, soundly defeating Rory McIlroy in stroke play. The Golf Channel's Tiger Tracker on Twitter—yes, there is an entire Twitter account dedicated just to following Woods during golf tournaments—had updates throughout the day:

Tiger has been a machine today. Fairways, greens and making most everything inside 10 feet.

—GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) October 11, 2012

It's over. Tiger shoots 7-under 64. Rory 70. They share a handshake and a smile. Whatever happens the rest of the way, Tiger enjoyed that.

—GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) October 11, 2012

I'm sure Tiger did enjoy that moment. McIlroy has been golf's darling once again in 2012 and helped lead Europe to its epic Ryder Cup win. Surely, Woods was pleased to better McIlroy, if only for one round of golf.

But the good times didn't last, as Woods couldn't advance past Justin Rose in the semifinals.

It's over, incredibly. Both players par the last hole, as Rose (69) beats Tiger (70) to advance to tomorrow's final against Westwood.

—GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) October 11, 2012

From a 64 to a 70, all in one day. Golf surely is a fickle mistress, isn't she?

But don't feel too bad for Woods, as he'll still walk away with $600,000 dollars for bowing out in the semifinals. Not a bad day at the office, right?

Tiger now will go on to play the CIMB Classic in Lumpur, Malaysia and the Duel at Jinsha Lake in Zhengzhou, China. Golfers really have the best business trips.

In all, Tiger's 2012 will be remembered for both the good and bad. He won three tournaments and often evoked talk that he was back and ready to take the golf world by storm once again. While that never came true, he was far better throughout the year than we've seen him in some time.

Still, he was disappointment at the majors. While he did finish third at the British Open, his inability to play well over the weekend cost him his first Major Championship since 2008. In general, the weekends did him in at the majors, as he was 15-over par on Saturdays and Sundays.

The man once known for his ability to run away with a lead suddenly lost his game when the pressure turned up. 

While I wouldn't put his Thursday in quite the same category—this is a pretty laid-back exhibition, after all, albeit one that pays really well—in many ways it was a microcosm of his season on the whole. Against McIlroy, it at times seemed as if he could do no wrong. Against Rose, he reverted to mere mortal status.

We have a tendency to overanalyze every little move Woods makes, and it would be folly to look too deeply into his performance at an exhibition. But you know he wanted a piece of McIlroy, at least a little bit, and you know as well he'll be disappointed he couldn't keep the good times rolling against Rose.

Another day, another mixed result for Tiger Woods. At least for 2012, this is the central theme that accompanies his game.

Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets know when to apply the infield fly rule.

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