Match Play Strategy Euros v Yanks

By Brian HewittFebruary 21, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007- WGC-AccentureMARANA, Ariz. -- Trevor Immelmans game plan is a clear one. Which is rarely the case in match play at the games highest level, mainly because the top names rarely play this format.
More often than not, players waffle between saying theyre playing the course or their opponent. Not Immelman.
Im definitely playing the guy, Immelman said Wednesday at the WGC-Accenture Match play where his 6-and-5 victory over Thomas Bjorn was the earliest first-round match to end.
I knew Thomas was not on his game, Immelman said. I was just trying to not do something stupid. One down after two holes, Immelman won seven of the next nine.
Immelman remains the last player to have beaten Tiger Woods in a PGA TOUR event. It came last July at the Cialis Western Open. It was so long ago, Immelman said. It has all worn off.
Woods defeated J.J. Henry in his opener, 3 and 2.
Immelmans next opponent is Chris DiMarco who dusted Brett Wetterich, 4 and 3.
DiMarcos strategy against Wetterich: Having him looking at my ball on the green on every hole, DiMarco said. Thats the advantage sometimes of being the shorter hitter.
The significance of Michael Campbell vs. Justin Rose Wednesday was much deeper than it looked on paper.
It happens that Campbells coach, Jonathan Yarwood, and Roses coach, Nick Bradley, are best friends. Their families vacation together.
Unfortunately, Ive known Nick for more than 10 years, Yarwood needled before the match.
Its going to be a strange day, Bradley said. But actually we get along great. It can be a little bit nasty and whisper-whisper in this business from one coach to another. But not us.
As for the match: It was never close. Campbell, who injured his neck earlier this month in Malaysia, bogeyed three of the first four holes and never recovered. Rose prevailed, 6 and 5.
It was a little awkward, Rose said after the match. The banter actually started yesterday (Tuesday).
Playing against a Ryder Cup teammate, Padraig Harrington said, can be distracting. You have expectations for your opponent because you know his game, Harrington said after draining a 40-footer on the 19th hole to defeat Lee Westwood. Its a bit awkward.
There was very little awkward about the winning eagle putt that came after a 257-yard hybrid that finished in the middle of the green.
Next up for Harrington is Stewart Cink who handled Jeev Milkha-Singh, 3 and 2. This is the same Stewart Cink who dusted a red-hot Sergio Garcia, 4 and 3, in the Sunday singles at last years Ryder Cup matches in Ireland.
It is a theme you will hear all week long here at the WGC-Accenture Match Play: Virtually all the players in the field hadnt seen the greens at the South Course of The Gallery at Dove Mountain until this week. Add on the fact that the greens dont always break the way they look, and you have a recipe for confusion.
There are guys out here who read greens well and guys out here who think they read greens well but just remember greens well, Hank Haney told me.
Haney is Tiger Woods instructor. And, he pointed out, there is no memory bank this week on these John Fought-designed surfaces modeled after Pinehurst No. 2. This week you will have to read greens well, Haney said.
And, yes, Haney added, Tiger reads greens pretty well.
World No. 2 Jim Furyk expressed less concern. Coming here for the first time, we should be able to learn the golf course in a couple of days and should have a pretty good knowledge of whats going on, Furyk said.
Charles Howell III, when asked if he slept well Sunday night after defeating Phil Mickelson in a sudden death playoff to win the Nissan Open earlier in the day:
Oh, yeah. A lot better. A lot calmer.
In his first round match Howell cruised past Stuart Appleby, 4 and 3. Next up for Chuckie 3-sticks: Sergio Garcia.
David Howell, ranked No. 17 in the world had this to say about the prospect of playing Charles Howell III, ranked No. 16 in the world, in the finals to determine the best Howell in the world:
I think right now, both of us would take that prospect.
Those words were uttered Tuesday. Wednesday, David Howell squandered a 3-up lead after eight holes and fell to Rory Sabbatini, 2-up.
Paul Nolen is the head professional at The Gallery and thinks the Europeans may have an advantage on his golf course.
The run-off areas are shaved down and you need more imagination around the greens, he said. I think the Europeans might be more used to these kinds of conditions.
There were just four matches Wednesday that pitted Europeans against Americans. The Euros won all four.
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    Golf's Olympic format, qualifying process remain the same

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 6:25 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Potential Olympic golfers for the 2020 Games in Tokyo were informed on Monday that the qualification process for both the men’s and women’s competitions will remain unchanged.

    According to a memo sent to PGA Tour players, the qualification process begins on July 1, 2018, and will end on June 22, 2020, for the men, with the top 59 players from the Olympic Golf Rankings, which is drawn from the Official World Golf Ranking, earning a spot in Tokyo (the host country is assured a spot in the 60-player field). The women’s qualification process begins on July 8, 2018, and ends on June 29, 2020.

    The format, 72-holes of individual stroke play, for the ’20 Games will also remain unchanged.

    The ’20 Olympics will be held July 24 through Aug. 9, and the men’s competition will be played the week before the women’s event at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

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    Webb granted U.S. Women's Open special exemption

    By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 6:22 pm

    Karrie Webb's streak of consecutive appearances at the U.S. Women's Open will continue this summer.

    The USGA announced Monday that the 43-year-old Aussie has been granted a special exemption into this year's event, held May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek in Alabama. Webb, a winner in both 2000 and 2001, has qualified for the event on merit every year since 2011 when her 10-year exemption for her second victory ended.

    "As a past champion, I'm very grateful and excited to accept the USGA's special exemption into this year's U.S. Women's Open," Webb said in a release. "I have always loved competing in the U.S. Women's Open and being tested on some of the best courses in the country."

    Webb has played in the tournament every year since 1996, the longest such active streak, meaning that this summer will mark her 23rd consecutive appearance. She has made the U.S. Women's Open cut each of the last 10 years, never finishing outside the top 50 in that span.

    Webb's exemption is the first handed out by the USGA since 2016, when Se Ri Pak received an invite to play at CordeValle. Prior to that the two most recent special exemptions went to Juli Inkster (2013) and Laura Davies (2009). The highest finish by a woman playing on a special exemption came in 1994, when Amy Alcott finished sixth.

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    Notah: Driver is Tiger's No. 1 pre-Masters concern

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 5:49 pm

    Tiger Woods mounted a Sunday charge at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, sending shockwaves through Bay Hill when it looked as though he might finally claim PGA Tour victory No. 80.

    But the charge came to an end at the par-5 16th, where Woods had missed wide-right three days in a row before going OB-left on Sunday en route to bogey.

    Woods’ API performance featured just a handful of drivers each day, as firm and fast conditions allowed him to make frequent use of a 2-iron off the tee.

    That strategy led to a second top-5 finish in as many weeks, but if Woods wants to win again, if he wants claim another major, he is going to sort out his issues with the big stick.

    A guest Monday morning on the Dan Patrick Show, Golf Channel’s Notah Begay believes the driver will be a focus for Woods in his pre-Masters preparation.

    “Project No. 1 over the next two weeks is going to be the driver. … Any time he has to turn a shot right to left with trouble on the left, he struggles a little bit,” Begay said.

    “Off the sixth tee, off the ninth tee, there was some errant shots. And then we saw the really horrible tee shot yesterday at 16. He talked about in the post-round comments. He just didn’t commit to a shot, and the worst thing that a professional athlete can do to themselves to compromise performance is not commit.

    “And so he made a terrible swing, and that’s the miss that is really difficult for him to recover from, because the majority of his misses are out to the right. So, when you eliminate one half of the golf course, you can really make your way around … a lot easier. When you have a two-way miss going, which sometimes creeps into his driver, it really makes it difficult to take out some of the trouble that you’re looking at when you’re standing on the tee box.

    “So he has to focus in on trying to find some way to navigate Augusta National with the driver, because it’s a course that’s going to force you to hit driver.”

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    McIlroy trails only Woods in Masters betting odds

    By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 5:47 pm

    After rallying for victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy is once again among the betting favorites for the upcoming Masters.

    McIlroy was available at 16/1 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook last week, listed behind six other players. But after his three-shot win at Bay Hill, his odds were trimmed to 10/1, leaving him behind only betting favorite Tiger Woods.

    Next month will mark McIlroy's fourth opportunity to close out the final leg of the career Grand Slam by slipping into a green jacket. Here's a look at the current betting odds, with the first round only 17 days away:

    8/1: Tiger Woods

    10/1: Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas

    14/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose

    16/1: Jason Day, Jon Rahm

    18/1: Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson

    25/1: Paul Casey, Bubba Watson

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Matsuyama

    40/1: Henrik Stenson, Marc Leishman

    50/1: Alex Noren

    60/1: Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Tyrrell Hatton, Thomas Pieters

    80/1: Branden Grace, Brian Harman, Tony Finau, Charley Hoffman, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay

    100/1: Zach Johnson, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Kevin Kisner