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Golf notebook: Rain forces delay in World Golf Finals

| Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, 7:50 p.m.
REUTERS
Rory McIlroy lines up a putt on the ninth green during his World Golf Final Group 1 match against Charl Schwartzel of South Africa in Antalya, Turkey, on Oct. 10, 2012. Schwartzel shot a 1-under par 70 and defeated McIlroy by one stroke. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

The anticipated showdown Wednesday between Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods at the World Golf Finals in Belek, Turkey, was pushed back a day because of thunderstorms at the Sultan course.

Torrential rain began lashing Antalya Golf Club shortly after the morning matches in the eight-player event were completed, forcing organizers to postpone the four afternoon matches to Thursday, with the semifinals staged afterward.

The other abandoned matches were: Justin Rose vs. Webb Simpson, Lee Westwood vs. Hunter Mahan, and Charl Schwartzel vs. Matt Kuchar.

On Wednesday, Schwartzel birdied three of his last four holes to shoot 1-under-par 70 to McIlroy's 71.

“You can't really do much about that,” McIlroy said. “I played bit a better than yesterday.”

Woods recorded his first victory at the exhibition tournament with a 67 to defeat Kuchar by five strokes. Woods fell to Schwartzel by one shot on Tuesday.

The top-ranked McIlroy has only an outside chance of advancing in the $5.2 million event after losing by six shots to Kuchar on Tuesday and by one stroke to Schwartzel in the medal match-play format.

Hong Kong revisited

McIlroy will defend his Hong Kong Open title next month.

McIlroy, who had not been certain of playing in the Nov. 15-18 event, said Wednesday he would return.

He said “there had been a little doubt over Hong Kong. But now that it's all sorted out with the sponsor and so on, I am going to defend my title.”

McIlroy, who wants to finish No. 1 on the European Tour, also is set to play the BMW Masters in Shanghai from Oct. 25-28 and the Singapore Open from Nov. 8-11 before the season-ending Dubai World Championship.

Tiger loose in Europe?

Woods will consider the possibility of joining the European Tour after changes are made to membership qualification.

The European Tour is expected to announce soon that participation in the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup and Seve Trophy will count toward the 13 events needed for tour membership.

Woods said he last looked into joining the European Tour in 2000, when the requirement was 11 events.

“I knew I would have to play one of two more events back then when it was 11, but now that criteria is 13,” he said at the World Golf Finals. “I don't know what my numbers are as I know I played 19 in the States this year and whether it crosses over or not, but I will again look at it.

“I did play Abu Dhabi but then 13 are certainly a lot more than 11, especially playing full-time in the States.”

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