Thursday 21 November 2019

Off-key McIlroy vows to raise game for Tiger showdown

Kevin Garside

Rory McIlroy has a monsoon to thank for denying him a day on the beach with the missus.

Instead of rubbing factor 50 into the back of Caroline Wozniacki this morning, McIlroy must pick up the clubs at least one more time to meet the challenge of Tiger Woods -- yesterday afternoon's contest was postponed -- and hope victory is enough to take him into the knockout stage of the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final in Antalya.

Or maybe not. The numbers point to a date at the water's edge sooner rather than later for McIlroy, whatever the outcome against Woods, following the world No 1's second defeat in the round-robin stage to Charl Schwartzel.

McIlroy improved on his opening-round loss to Matt Kuchar, shooting a level-par 71, but the South African birdied the last to render today's showpiece head-to-head almost irrelevant.

Even were McIlroy to beat Woods, who eased past Kuchar with a five-under 67, the countback does not favour him.

"I'll try to keep him out of those semi-finals. I'm sure that's not what the tournament wants, but it's what I'm going to try to do," McIlroy said, in a none-too-convincing attempt at breathing life into his moribund Turkish campaign.

"It was actually a decent match," McIlroy added. "I felt like I played a bit better today, had plenty of chances and just didn't really hole much.

"I got off to a better start and then Charl birdied three of the last four, so I couldn't really do much about that."

A win would secure Woods' progress if the resurgent Schwartzel cleans up against Kuchar.

And, even if Kuchar prevails, it is a brave man who would bet against Woods going through, given a rules matrix that is almost impossible to unravel.

In other words, put your money on the Turkish Airlines calculator finding in favour of the big ticket-seller. (© Independent News Service)

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