MARANA, Ariz. -- Rory McIlroy was walking down the stairs toward the driving range when he passed Lee Westwood and gave him the same message he had delivered earlier Saturday in the Match Play Championship.
"See you in the morning," McIlroy said with a big smile. "Just like I told you."
In 14 years of this fickle tournament, there has never been a semifinal match so compelling.
McIlroy had another surge on the back nine to put away Bae Sang-moon, 3 and 2. Moments later, Westwood finished off Martin Laird by the same margin, setting up a showdown with more at stake than just a spot in the championship match.
If either McIlroy or Westwood goes on to win the Match Play Championship, they would go to No. 1 in the world.
"I think with both of us being up there in the world, and both of us with the possibility of going to No. 1, it gives the match definitely an extra little bit of spice," McIlroy said.
The duel was not lacking spice in the first place.
They were stablemates at International Sports Management until some testy exchanges last year.
Shortly after McIlroy shot 80 in the final round of the Masters to blow a four-shot lead, Westwood got under his skin by saying the 22-year-old from Northern Ireland "has a pull hook in his bag under pressure." But it was McIlroy who was the first to win a major, setting records at Congressional on his way to an eight-shot win in the U.S. Open.
Later in the year, when McIlroy left Chubby Chandler at ISM, Westwood tweeted that it was a bizarre move. McIlroy quickly un-followed Westwood and Chandler on Twitter.
Both players say their relationship is no different than with other golfers. They don't spend as much time together, understandable because they no longer have the same manager.
"There's nothing strained about the relationship between the two of us. It's still the same as it was," Westwood said. "Rory said to me before I went out, 'See you tomorrow morning.' And then today again there, he said, 'See, told you.' That's the trouble with kids nowadays. They think they're always right, don't they?"
A dull day in the desert ended with high anticipation for the final day.
The championship match is at high noon. The McIlroy-Westwood duel gets under way as the sun begins to climb over the high desert.
"I think it's the match that most people wanted, and definitely the match that I wanted," McIlroy said.
The other semifinal match features Hunter Mahan and Mark Wilson, assuring an American will make it to the final for the first time since Tiger Woods won in 2008.
Mahan played the shortest quarterfinal match in the 14-year history of the event by beating Matt Kuchar, 6 and 5. Wilson, gaining more respect the deeper he goes in the bracket, had an easy time in his 4-and-3 win over Peter Hanson of Sweden.
With a strong breeze, firmer conditions, tough hole locations and only four quarterfinal matches, Saturday at Dove Mountain was lacking excitement. For the first time ever, none of the quarterfinals matches reached the 17th hole.
McIlroy and Westwood saved the day.
For starters, it's the first time the Match Play Championship semifinals have featured two of the top four seeds since 2004, when Woods and Davis Love III advanced. McIlroy is No. 2, and Westwood is No. 3.
Westwood already has been No. 1 in the world, and said his priority is picking up his first WGC title. McIlroy already is a major champion, and would become the second-youngest player behind Woods to reach No. 1 in the world.
Around the greens
*Daniel Summerhays shot a 4-under 67 on Saturday to take a two-stroke lead over Chris Stroud in the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
Summerhays had a 12-under 201 total on the El Camaleon course. The 28-year-old former BYU player won the Nationwide Tour's 2007 Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational as an amateur for his biggest career victory.
*Americans Katie Futcher and Angela Stanford and South Korea's Jenny Shin shot 1-under 71s on Saturday to stay tied for the lead after three rounds of the $1.4 million HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore.
Futcher led almost the entire day, jumping ahead with a birdie on the second hole. But a bogey on 18 -- her second of the tournament -- allowed Stanford and Shin to regain a share of the lead at 9-under 207.
World No. 1 Yani Tseng jumped up the leader board with a 5-under 67 and was three strokes off the lead.