Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods Eliminated at WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIFebruary 21, 2013

The snow delay made bizarre history on Day 1 of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play in Marana, Ariz.

Upsets defined Day 2.

On the first official day of the competition, No. 1 seeds Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy were both eliminated. 

Golf Digest noted the result via Twitter:

Rory McIlroy, OUT. Tiger Woods, OUT. Is anyone's bracket still intact?

— Golf Digest (@GolfDigestMag) February 22, 2013

Like college basketball's "March Madness," the Accenture Match Play bracket contains four groups of 16 seeded players.

Although a No. 1 has never lost to a No. 16 in March Madness, both of golf’s biggest names were taken down by the bottom seed in their portion of the bracket.

Shane Lowry beat McIlroy 1-up, while Woods lost 2-and-1 to Charles Howell III at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain.

As ESPN Stats & Info noted, this was actually the third time Woods has suffered such a disappointing result:

This is just the third time in Tiger Woods' career that he's been eliminated in the 1st round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 22, 2013

Tiger certainly faced high expectations heading into the tournament after winning the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines late last month.

"We both played well," Woods told USA Today after his round. "We didn't make a bogey in the group. He made a couple more birdies than I did."

McIlroy, the world's No. 1-ranked player, will have to erase memories of this performance quickly. He'll want to make sure that his first performance on American soil in 2013 does not set a tone for his season on the PGA Tour.

While the results are certainly surprising, they do not present a major problem for either player. The unorthodox format does not allow players to bounce back from a bad round as they are able to do in traditional scoring.  

Both Woods and McIlroy will have plenty more chances to prove themselves worthy of the top-two spots in the World Golf Rankings. For now, the two will just have to dust themselves off and congratulate Howell III and Lowry on their extremely impressive upset victories in the first of four annual tourneys of the World Golf Championships.

Lowry and Howell III weren't the only ones to score upsets in the first round.  

A No. 14 seed, rookie Russell Henley, took down former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel one up.  No. 2 seed Adam Scott also fell to No. 15 Rafael Cabrera Bello. And rounding out the round of shockers, No. 4 seeds Dustin Johnson and Keegan Bradley were bested by No. 13 seeds Alexander Noren and Marcus Fraser.