Belek, Turkey – World No 2 Tiger Woods swept past Rory McIlroy by six strokes on Thursday to reach the semi-finals of the World Golf Final and eliminate the top-ranked Northern Irishman.
Woods was always ahead in the Group One tussle and ended up shooting a seven-under-par 64 against McIlroy's 70 to set up a meeting with England's Justin Rose at the Antalya Golf Club.
Rose blitzed his way to a course record 62 to defeat U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson (67) in the eight-man matchplay event.
Charl Schwartzel (63) made it three wins from three Group One matches by knocking out American Matt Kuchar (65). The South African plays Lee Westwood (64) in Thursday afternoon's semi-finals after the Englishman beat Hunter Mahan (69) of the U.S.
McIlroy had lost his opening two games and began horribly against Woods by finding water off the opening tee. The world No 1 continued in the same vein and was not under par for his round until he birdied the 17th hole.
The consolation for McIlroy and Mahan, who also failed to win a match, were cheques for $300,000 from the inaugural exhibition tournament.
“I really hit it good out there,” Woods told reporters as he kept alive his bid for the $1.5 million first prize. “I missed a couple of putts so it could have been a really low number.
“My game is starting to turn around a bit and I am beginning to hit it like I did at the start of the year.”
McIlroy said he had enjoyed his week despite suffering three straight defeats.
“I'm not that disappointed because I've got the afternoon off around the pool,” he said. “I came here because I have never played in Turkey and there are a lot of good players here.
“I thought it would be a fun week and it has been. I've now got four events left this year starting the week after next, defending my BMW Masters title in Shanghai.”
McIlroy's most immediate task is getting a Russian visa so he can accompany girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki at next week's Kremlin Cup tennis in Moscow. – Reuters