Saturday, October 25, 2014

McIlroy, Woods both fall in openers

MARANA, Ariz.—Different month, different desert, same shocking outcome.
Any thoughts of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods going head-to-head late Sunday afternoon came crashing down under darkening skies in the high desert of Dove Mountain.

Just like the last time they got together in Abu Dhabi to start the season, they didn’t even make it to the weekend.
The Match Play Championship was even worse. They didn’t make it out of the first round.
“It happens. It’s the nature of the format,” Woods reasoned. “You’ve just got to beat the guy you’re playing against, and I didn’t do that today.
“‘Chucky’ won the match.”
That would be Charles Howell III, who said he’s never beaten Woods in any match and picked a fine time to end that streak.
Doing his best Tiger impersonation, the match was all square when Howell nearly holed out with a wedge for birdie on the 15th.
He then drained a 25-foot birdie putt on the 16th, going 2 up when Woods missed a 12-foot birdie.
The match ended in pars on the next hole.
Just moments earlier, in a sloppy match with an old friend, McIlroy had one last chance to avoid losing to Shane Lowry when the portly Irishman went bunker-to-bunker on the 18th hole.
But McIlroy—from the middle of the fairway—hit yet another poor iron shot into the sand and Lowry closed him out by saving par with a nervy four-foot putt.
“It’s definitely a day I’m going to remember,” Lowry said.
McIlroy became the third No. 1 seed in the last four years to lose in the opening round.
Woods, meanwhile, has yet to make it out of the second round of golf’s most unpredictable tournament since he won at Dove Mountain in 2008.
It was only the second time in the 15-year history of this World Golf Championship that the top two seeds were gone after one day. Woods and Phil Mickelson lost in 2002 when it was at La Costa.
Woods and McIlroy losing in the first round just minutes apart? Not many would have given that a snowball’s chance in the high desert.
It capped off a wild opening round—stopped on Wednesday because of a freakish snowstorm that covered The Ritz-Carlton Club in two inches of snow.

More stories