Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are scheduled to go head-to-head at the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final on Wednesday, but after Tuesday morning's result, their eagerly-anticipated match could be nothing more than a chance to see the top two golfers in the world in the same group, after both lost their opening matches.
McIlroy, who admitted before his round that he hadn't touched a club since the Ryder Cup, arrived at Antalya Golf Club looking, well, like a guy who hadn't touched a golf club since the Ryder Cup.
Facing Matt Kuchar in the first round, McIlroy went a couple shots down early before imploding over the last four holes of the match, going triple-bogey, double-bogey, double-bogey starting on the 15th to lose by six shots.
"If it was a different format and a different tournament it might not have got as out of control as it did, but that's just the way it is," McIlroy said. "But it's fine. I know what I need to do tomorrow. I need to go out and win both of my matches and see if that's good enough. In a way it could be a blessing that I'm not complacent and I go out and give it my best."
Tiger Woods had a late round meltdown of his own after drawing level with Charl Schwartzel on the 17th with a birdie. But instead of capitalizing on the momentum, the 14-time major winner failed to get up and down from a greenside bunker to tie the match.
After opening round losses, both McIlroy and Woods face a must-win situation on Wednesday morning. If they fail to pick up points, their match during the afternoon would be rendered meaningless.
Both players likely received some sort of appearance for showing up, so going home early wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. However, after the time and money Turkish Airlines put into staging the competition, the last thing they want to see is a semifinal that doesn't include the two marquee names.