Rory McIlroy was not exactly beside himself with despair after losing his second straight World Golf Final match on Wednesday, a defeat that put him on the brink of dismissal from the $5.2 million competition in Turkey. In fact, the world’s best golfer may have been disappointed to learn that he still had a chance to advance to the semifinals of the inaugural money mania meet.
"It looks like I'll get to spend a day on the beach tomorrow, which will be nice," McIlroy told reporters after losing to Charl Schwartzel despite chipping in for birdie on the final hole, according to The Telegraph. Tennis star Caroline Wozniacki accompanied her main squeeze to Turkey, where golf’s top-ranked player was to face Tiger Woods in the afternoon's marquee event of the high-profile, huge-stakes competition.
Perhaps it was the unusual format -- round-robin medal match play between and among eight players split into two groups, with aggregate totals coming into play should ties occur -- that confused McIlroy. While he apparently mastered the time zone change, No. 1 seemed not to realize that he still had a chance to qualify for the semis, though his hopes for the $1.5 million winner’s payday depended on how his opponents fared.
"It was actually a decent match,” McIlroy said about losing by a stroke to the 2011 Masters champ. “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 Charl played solid and then birdied three of the last four so I couldn't really do much about that.”
In his second match of the event, Woods toppled Matt Kuchar by five strokes and had his BFF on deck for an afternoon affair -- until electrical storms wiped out the rest of the day’s contests, according to Reuters.
Despite their on-course friendship, and before recognizing that he still had some skin in the game, McIlroy hoped to play spoiler for No. 2.
"I don't have much to play for so I would like to beat him so he doesn't go through to the semi-finals and also get some bragging rights," said McIlroy after his loss and before the storms lashed Belek’s Antalya Golf Club.