Officials Delay Start of Match Play

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 WGC Accenture Match PlayThis is shaping up as the Wet Coast Swing. First, heavy rain at Riviera led to the first 36-hole event on the PGA Tour in nine years. On Tuesday, officials delayed the start of the Match Play Championship to give La Costa Resort a chance to drain.
The first round of 18-hole matches now will start Thursday, followed by two rounds each day through Saturday and the 36-hole final match Sunday.
'Whatever day we start, I'll be ready to go,' two-time defending champion Tiger Woods said.
It was the latest twist in the West Coast Swing on the PGA Tour, which already has featured a fog delay at Torrey Pines, a wind delay in Phoenix and a total washout Saturday at the Nissan Open, which eventually led to the tournament being cut short to 36 holes when more rain fell Monday.
But the rearranged schedule in the Accenture Match Play Championship should be nothing new for Woods.
He barely got through the first round last year against John Rollins, then the second day of matches was postponed because of heavy rain that had water sprawling out of the banks in the ponds and creeks.
Woods and Davis Love III had to play two matches Friday and Saturday, then the 36-hole final in which Woods closed him out, 3 and 2.
'If you get all the way to the finals, it's a physical grind,' Woods said Tuesday morning, before the announcement that the first round had been delayed. 'Match play is an emotional roller coaster, because of the momentum switches that can happen in one hole, two holes.'
Unlike the NCAA basketball tournament, there is no such thing as an upset at La Costa.
Last year was the first time in the six-year history of this World Golf Championship event that two of the top-four seeds made it to the last match.
Jeff Maggert won the first year as the No. 24 seed, followed by Darren Clarke (No. 19), Steve Stricker (No. 55) and Kevin Sutherland (No. 62). Woods won the last two years as the top seed, although he starts this time at No. 2.
Vijay Singh is the No. 1 seed and will play Shingo Katayama of Japan.
'He's a good player. I don't know how he's playing coming into this event, but I have to treat him very strong,' Singh said. 'I'm going to go out and see if I can play my game and play the best I can and see if I can finish it off.'
Singh is coming off his first missed cut in a year, as defending champion at Pebble Beach. No one misses the cut from the 64-man field at La Costa, although this event has not been kind to the 41-year-old Fijian. He has never advanced out of the second round, even against a watered-down field in Australia four years ago.
So while most players like the idea of match play during a full schedule of stroke play, Singh was indifferent.
'I don't mind it,' he said. 'I think it depends on how you play. Last year, I didn't play very well. I'm driving the ball much better than I did last year, and I've fixed my irons.'
Ernie Els, at No. 3 in the world, is the only player who elected not to come.
The Big Easy has never liked La Costa, and his results explain why. He has never advanced out of the second round on this soggy, San Diego County course, and decided he was better off staying home in South African then flying halfway around the world to play as few as 18 holes.
The seeding was determined by the world ranking from a week ago. Woods plays Nick Price, while third-seeded Phil Mickelson faces Loren Roberts and fourth-seeded Retief Goosen opens with Stephen Leaney.
All they could do Tuesday was hit balls on the range, although a few players were on the course.
PGA Tour tournament director Mark Russell said La Costa would be available for practice rounds Wednesday, but the staff did not think the course was suitable for competition.
'It's totally saturated,' Russell said. 'But based on this weather forecast, it's going to get nothing but better. If we get a day of sunshine and breeze, it will get dramatically better, and we're going to present a better golf course for the players.'
Mickelson lives about 20 miles away in Rancho Santa Fe, and because he did not play last week in the Nissan Open, he played a couple of practice rounds at La Costa.
He lost to Love in the quarterfinals last year on the 18th hole, his best showing in the Match Play Championship. Lefty is coming off back-to-back wins on the PGA Tour by wide margins, although that won't do him any good this week.
He shot 73 in the first round at Phoenix, then rebounded with a career-low 60. Had that been match play, Mickelson probably would not have advanced out of the first round. A week later, he opened with a course-record 62 at Spyglass, closed with a 73 and still won by four shots.
'I would have been knocked out the first round half the time at Phoenix,' Mickelson said. 'And at AT&T, I would have done great all the way through and the last match have been knocked out. In match play ... you need some luck to win. You can play well, but you're not going to play well six rounds in a row.'
Right now, all they want to do is play.
Related Links:
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  • Full Coverage - WGC-Accenture Match Play
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.