McIlroy moves into quarterfinals of Match Play

By Associated PressFebruary 27, 2009, 5:00 pm
2007- WGC-AccentureMARANA, Ariz. 'Teenage sensation Rory McIlroy did his part to put some excitement back into the Accenture Match Play Championship, advancing to the quarterfinals by crushing the player who knocked out Tiger Woods.
 
The same could not be said for Phil Mickelson, who failed to reach the weekend for the fifth straight year.
Rory McIlroy WGC 2009
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his approach shot on the fifth hole during the third round of the Accenture Match Play Championship. (Getty Images)

McIlroy, the 19-year-old from Northern Ireland who keeps adding credentials to be the next young star, built a 4-up lead after six holes and never gave Tim Clark of South Africa a chance to catch up in a 4-and-3 victory Friday.
 
He is three matches away from becoming the youngest winner in the history of American professional golf.
 
Tim didnt play his best golf today ' understandably, McIlroy said. He was probably a little flat after all that happened yesterday. And I came out and got off to quite a fast start.
 
One day after Clark was practically flawless in sending Woods home early from Dove Mountain, hardly anything went right. It was the third straight time that a player who beat Woods in this tournament lost in the next round.
 
Its a big deal coming out today, but its tough to feel the same, and its tough to maybe get focused, Clark said. You go around with him and its tough to come out the next day and get into the battle again.
 
The atmosphere was far more subdued than earlier in the week, when Woods made his heralded return to golf from knee surgery after an eight-month absence, only to last two rounds before Clark beat him.
 
The gallery spread itself among the eight matches, and there were some entertaining ones, for sure.
 
Mickelson had not trailed all week until Stewart Cink ran off three straight birdies to build a 3-up lead after four holes. Mickelson rallied to square the match twice, and both times let it get away.
 
Lefty hit his tee shot into a desert bush on the 15th hole and fell behind, then tied it on the 16th when Cink missed the green. But on the next hole, Mickelsons third shot from a desert waste area sailed over the gallery, and he missed a 4-foot bogey putt to lose the hole. His last chance was a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole, which missed below the cup.
 
The wheel sort of came off for both of us, Cink said. It was a case of Who doesnt want to win this match, or who does? And we took a long time to figure that out.
 
Ernie Els, in the quarterfinals for only the second time, had a 1-up lead on the 18th tee when Luke Donald felt a twinge in his left wrist and decided to concede the match instead of risking further injury. Donald had surgery on that wrist six months ago, and only returned to competition in December.
 
For the first time since coming back, I felt a little twinge in my wrist, Donald said. So rather than risk it, I wanted to play it safe and concede the match to Ernie. Hopefully, Ive just pulled it a little bit and nothing serious.
 
Els has not trailed in any of this three matches and next plays Cink.
 
In other matches:
 
  • Geoff Ogilvy took advantage of shaky putting by Camilo Villegas for a 2-and-1 victory, raising his career record to 14-2.
     
  • Paul Casey of England built a quick lead and beat Peter Hanson of Sweden, 3 and 2. Casey joined Els as the only players remaining who have not been behind all week.
     
  • Ross Fisher of England made seven birdies in beating Jim Furyk, 4 and 3.
     
  • Sean OHair lost the first two holes, then won three straight holes on the back nine to beat Ian Poulter, 2 and 1.
     
  • Justin Leonard chipped in for birdie on the 17th hole, then watched Oliver Wilson of England roll in a 6-foot birdie putt on the 18th. Leonard won with a par on the first extra hole, the only match to go overtime on Friday.
     
    Cink and Leonard are the only two players to reach the quarterfinals for the second straight year at this fickle tournament. Cink reached the finals last, only to lose by a record margin (8 and 7) to Woods.
     
    What would he give for another crack at Woods? Nothing.
     
    I would like to get there but I dont really want to play against Tiger, Cink said. I had that experience last year.
     
    Of all the young players starting to emerge, McIlroy is getting as much attention as anyone. When he won the Dubai Desert Classic last month for his first European Tour victory, Mark OMeara said he was more polished than Woods at that age.
     
    And he is a joy to watch, with his mop of hair, an engaging smile and a fundamentally sound swing.
     
    He smashes the ball, said Ogilvy, who will play McIlroy in the quarterfinals Saturday morning.
     
    The younger winner in PGA Tour history was Johnny McDermott, who was 19 years, 10 months and 17 days when he captured the 1911 U.S. Open. McIlroy will be 19 years, nine months and 25 days on Sunday.
     
    But theres still a long way to the championship match, and fortunes can turn quickly.
     
    Clark had gone two days without making a bogey, but he drove into the desert to make his first one on the opening hole against McIlroy, and he never caught up. McIlroy birdied the next hole, and went 4-up with birdies on the fifth and sixth holes.
     
    All the while, he played before his largest crowd of the week.
     
    We probably had a few more people watching us than if Tiger was playing, but I think the crowds are still great, he said. The tournament probably has lost a little bit of its buzz because he brings so many people to the course.
     
    Related Links:
  • Match Play Scoring
  • Full Coverage ' Tiger's Return
  • Match Play Bracket
  • Full Coverage ' WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.