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Woods suffers shock Wentworth exit

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VIRGINIA WATER, England -- Tiger Woods' winning streak came to a swift and sudden conclusion Thursday when Shaun Micheel knocked him out in the first round of the World Match Play Championship at Wentworth.

Woods, who had won his previous five tournaments, had a 15-foot birdie putt on the 15th hole to keep alive his slim hopes against his fellow American.

But he removed his cap and walked over to shake hands with Micheel as the ball was still rolling left of the cup for a 4 and 3 defeat.

"He did what he needed to do," Woods told reporters. "I felt like I hit the ball pretty decent all day, I just didn't make any putts.

"Only (lengthy) putt I really made was on the second hole of the afternoon round. I had my chances, I just had a hard time with the pace and it was hard to read the greens."

A subdued Woods, who was using the event to warm-up for next week's Ryder Cup against Europe in Ireland, earlier told TV: "I don't think you're ever excited when you've lost."

It's been a long time since he has.

His winning streak began in July at Hoylake, where Woods won the British Open and launched an amazing run that restored some of his mystique.

That meant nothing to Micheel, who was runner-up by five shots to Woods at the PGA Championship last month, but was hardly fazed on a cloudy afternoon outside London.

After falling behind on the first hole of the 36-hole match, Micheel won four straight holes in the morning to build a lead that he never gave up.

Woods won the first two holes in the afternoon, but he missed an eight-foot birdie putt on the par-five fourth -- a recurring theme -- and failed to win another hole until it was time to leave.

"Sometimes it's easier to play as the underdog," Micheel told reporters. "He (Woods) is so strong mentally which makes him difficult to play in match play.

"We each had our share of bogeys and mishaps but it feels really special to beat him. He played pretty well but did not make the putts he usually does."

Furyk flattened

Jim Furyk, who rose to No. 2 in the world ranking by winning the Canadian Open on Sunday, was hammered by Robert Karlsson of Sweden, 6 and 4, highlighting a first round in which six of the higher seeds were beaten.

Karlsson, a member of next week's European line-up, birdied each of the four par-three holes in his eight-under-par morning round of 64, a feat achieved only twice before in the championship.

Briton Paul Casey marked his debut in the event by hitting six birdies and an eagle in an inspired nine-hole run midway through his match to down world number six Retief Goosen 6 and 4.

New Zealander Michael Campbell, last year's champion, eased past Britain's Simon Khan 3 and 1 while Colin Montgomerie defeated David Howell one up.

Canadian Mike Weir ousted Australian Adam Scott 3 and 2 while Briton Luke Donald put out Tim Clark of South Africa two up.

Ernie Els's hopes of a record seventh World Match Play title were ended by a 2 and 1 defeat by Argentina's Angel Cabrera.

But the biggest to fall was Woods who was making his second appearance at Wentworth eight years after he was beaten in the final by close friend Mark O'Meara.

Micheel, without a tournament victory this season, plays Donald in the quarterfinals.

Campbell takes on Montgomerie on Friday while Casey meets Weir and Karlsson faces Cabrera.


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Woods scratches his head as he attempts to read the Wentworth greens.

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