McIlroy to face an old 'enemy' in Horschel
Rory McIlroy and the game's elite are ready to rumble now that the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship draw has been announced.
World No 1 McIlroy is the top seed in the 64-man field which tees it up at Harding Park, San Francisco tomorrow to start this $9.25 million match play marathon.
His opening joust will be against Jason Dufner, followed by Brandt Snedeker on Thursday and an intriguing re-match of his 2007 Walker Cup contest against Billy Horschel on Friday.
The four-time Major winner and Horschel have come a long way since their Sunday foursomes match when the American came whooping and hollering onto the 14th green at Royal County Down.
Horschel had splashed a superb bunker shot to inside two feet and shocked home fans with his antics. Rory's riposte was to hole a 30-foot birdie putt to win the hole.
McIlroy and Horschel played each other twice in singles during that Walker Cup, winning one each, but the USA went home with the trophy.
That issue is left in the past. Decorum won't be an issue when they play on Friday for these well-seasoned professionals.
From an Irish viewpoint, tomorrow is Paddy's Day as Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry go head to head in Group 13.
McDowell and Lowry will wonder at the luck of the Irish running out, as they are joined in the Group by Rickie Fowler - another '07 Walker Cup 'veteran' - and Harris English.
Only one player from this quartet is guaranteed to reach the knock-out series, so no matter how the McDowell/Lowry North v South contest ends up, at least one of the Irish will be packing their bags by Friday evening.
Masters champion Jordan Spieth, seeded No 2, plays Mikko Ilonen in his opening game. The Finn got a late call-up when Phil Mickelson withdrew for personal reasons.
Ryder Cup stalwart Lee Westwood and Matt Every are also in Spieth's Group.
Holder Jason Day of Australia plays in Group 7 with Zach Johnson, Branden Grace (SA), and Charley Hoffman.