Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, golf’s top two players, on the 11th tee. (Scott Halleran / Getty Images)

Now this is the way to start a golf tournament.

The first two rounds of the WGC feature the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 golfers in the world playing across the Doral course. Rory McIlroy (1), Tiger Woods (2) and Luke Donald (3) will tee off at 11:53 a.m. (EST, the Golf Channel) today. And because there’s no cut in the 65-player field (ahem, Rory McIlroy and your throbbing wisdom tooth), the chances of a walk-off are slim-to-none.

McIlroy has struggled terribly this year since switching to Nike equipment, but his image has been in need of as much work as his game. In the midst of a 7-over start last Friday, he walked off the course at the Honda Classic, later claiming pain from a wisdom tooth that won’t be extracted until after the U.S. Open. Which is in June. On Wednesday, he did another apology tour when he met with the media.

“I realized pretty quickly that it wasn’t the right thing to do. No matter how bad I was playing, I should have stayed out there. I should have tried to shoot the best score possible even though it probably wasn’t going to be good enough to make the cut.” McIlroy said. “At that point in time, I was just all over the place. … It was a mistake, and everyone makes mistakes and I’m learning from them. I guess some people have the pleasure of making mistakes in private. Most of my mistakes are in the public eye.

“It’s over now and it won’t happen again.”

Let the golf begin.


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