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Lee Westwood and Justin Rose to contest all-English World Golf Final

11th October 2012

• Pair guaranteed at least $1m each in final
• Westwood beats Charl Schwartzel with stunning 61

Billboards all over Belek proclaimed “Tiger versus Rory” as this week’s most alluring event. There was indeed a meeting of Woods and McIlroy on Thursday morning, but one rendered rather irrelevant for any reason other than bragging rights.

Enter Lee Westwood. While it would be disrespectful to suggest the player ranked No4 in the world could be regarded as an also-ran, Westwood did feature below McIlroy and Woods in the minds of sponsors when the World Final was being pieced together.

Westwood has proved far from second best on the course. A stunning day’s work, including rounds of 64 and 61, booked the Englishman’s place in the final. The latter round, when up against Charl Schwartzel, was all the more notable as it included a double bogey.

Westwood will meet Justin Rose on Friday morning, another player who has clearly and admirably not opted to sit back and bask in Europe’s Ryder Cup victory at Medinah.

“I had everything together,” Westwood said. “It was quite tricky out there with the breeze and I was quite surprised I kept making birdies. That round of 61 rates pretty high up in my career – up there in the top five. I am very happy where my game is.”

The same, alas, cannot be said for McIlroy. The 23-year-old has enjoyed such a brilliant year he is certainly entitled to some relaxation time. The only controversy about him doing that in Turkey is that he is being paid a considerable sum to be here. McIlroy can rightly point to that being the right of a player with his record.

Has he mentally drawn a line under his season after the Ryder Cup? “Yes I have basically,” he admitted. “I have still got some big events left and I would love to win the Race to Dubai so I am going to give it one last push. It has been a great season and I am ready to be done. It is just such a long season these days.”

McIlroy added: “I’m not that disappointed because I’ve got the afternoon off around the pool. I thought it would be a fun week and it has been. So I’ve enjoyed myself. I feel fine and the energy levels are OK and I’ve got another week off next week before I get myself up for the Race to Dubai.

“I knew I was going to have an afternoon off anyway so I was just going out and playing. I never really had any expectations.”

With that in mind, it was hardly a shock that McIlroy also expressed his desire to cut his schedule, as he did for this season, again next year.

Woods bettered McIlroy’s 70 by six shots on Thursday morning, earning him a semi-final match against Rose. Yet Woods’s quest ended there, Rose defeating him by a stroke.

Rose holed a 110-yard wedge on the 14th to move from a shot adrift of Woods to one ahead in the medal matchplay format of this event. From there he held on to his lead.

“Tiger hit a great shot to 14 that went long because it didn’t get affected by the wind,” Rose explained. “That was definitely the turning point. I’ve had a stroke of luck there. I gave Tiger a wry smile, there is not much you can do about that.”

Rose, having defeated Westwood at the group stage on Wednesday morning, is not complacent. “He had his off day against me, didn’t he?” Rose said. “What did he shoot? Ten under? No way? I thought it was difficult this afternoon. My 62 this morning was three shots easier than this afternoon. So that 61 was nibbling at a 59. That’s a great round of golf.”


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