It may not be Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning, but golf’s glamorous rivals, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, headline a loaded field this week in the $5.2 million World Golf Final in Turkey. And with $1.5 million on the line for the winner of the eight-player tourney, there’s more at stake than bragging rights between two heavyweights -- unlike the Patriots’ and Broncos’ QBs, who lived up to their pre-game hype in a 31-21 New England knockout on Sunday.
McIlroy and Woods will tee it up with six of their close friends in a cash grab that starts Tuesday at Antalya Golf Club in Belek. The world’s two top players -- last seen on opposing sides in Europe’s stunning smack down of the Americans in the Ryder Cup a week ago -- will duke it out with Lee Westwood, Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, and Hunter Mahan.
The high-stakes shootout will kick off with an 18-hole stroke-play first round. Each player will compete in three matches in the group stages, with the winners and runners-up from each group moving on to the semi-finals on Thursday and Friday.
With even the last-place finisher guaranteed a $300,000 pay check, the clash offers one of the largest purses in golf. And though the future of the event beyond 2013 is up in the air, speculation abounds that the first prize may increase to $2.5 million as early as next year.
The competition, which neither the PGA Tour or European Tour sanctions, will finish Friday as a concession to the U.S. association, which is staging the Fall Season’s second event, the Frys.com Open, next week as well.
The Turkish tilt will serve as a warmup of sorts for golf's power couple. Nos. 1 and 2 will go head-to-head later this month in an 18-hole event in China.