Pools for WGC-Cadillac Match Play set

By Nick MentaApril 27, 2015, 3:30 pm

The WGC-Cadillac Match Play has a new format, with round-robin play over the first three days at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, Calif. The field of 64 is split into 16 groups of four players, with one winner from each pool advancing to one-and-done match play over the weekend. The groups were set Monday via a live selection show on Golf Channel. Here's how things are played out. Scroll from bottom to top (All times ET):


1:07PM: The matchups are set. Here are your groups for Wednesday-Friday's pool play:

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
Rory McIlroy Jordan Spieth Henrik Stenson Bubba Watson
Billy Horschel Lee Westwood  Bill Haas Louis Oosthuizen
Brandt Snedeker  Matt Every  Brendon Todd  Keegan Bradley 
Jason Dufner  Mikko Ilonen  John Senden  Miguel Angel Jimenez 
Group 5 Group 6 Group 7 Group 8
Jim Furyk Justin Rose Jason Day Dustin Johnson
Martin Kaymer  Ryan Palmer Zach Johnson  Victor Dubuisson
Thongchai Jaidee  Anirban Lahiri  Branden Grace  Charl Schwartzel 
George Coetzee  Marc Leishman  Charley Hoffman  Matt Jones 
Group 9 Group 10 Group 11 Group 12
Adam Scott Sergio Garcia Jimmy Walker J.B. Holmes
Chris Kirk Jamie Donaldson  Ian Poulter Brooks Koepka
Paul Casey  Bernd Wiesberger Webb Simpson  Russell Henley 
Francesco Molinari  Tommy Fleetwood Gary Woodland  Marc Warren 
Group 13 Group 14 Group 15 Group 16
Rickie Fowler Matt Kuchar Patrick Reed Hideki Matsuyama
Graeme McDowell  Hunter Mahan Ryan Moore  Kevin Na 
Shane Lowry  Stephen Gallacher  Danny Willett  Joost Luiten 
Harris English  Ben Martin  Andy Sullivan Alexander Levy 

1:02PM: And in the final group, Jimmy Walker gets the unenviable task of dealing with Ian Poulter. Webb Simpson and Gary Woodland get Poulter, too. It's match play. No wants Poulter. He's the 2010 WGC champion, 22-12 at this event, and 4-0-1 in Ryder Cup singles.


1:00PM: Sunday's Zurich champion Justin Rose pulls Ryan Palmer, Anirban Lahiri, and Marc Leishman. Rose was overpowering at Gleneagles last fall. Leishman is back after pulling out of the Masters because of a family health scare.


12:58PM: Skechers pitchman Matt Kuchar gets a Ryder Cup teammate, Hunter Mahan, a Ryder Cup rival, Stephen Gallacher, and Ben Martin. Mahan won this event in 2012, and then lost in the final to Kuchar in 2013.


12:56PM: The No. 3 player in the world Henrik Stenson comes away with Bill Haas, Brendon Todd and John Senden. Stenson 13-7 at the WGC-Match Play. The winner in 2007.


12:49PM: In Group 10, Sergio Garcia finds Ryder Cup teammate Jamie Donaldson, Bernd Wiesberger and Tommy Fleetwood. European hearts beat a quicker beat.


12:46PM: Defending champion Jason Day gets Zach Johnson, Branden Grace and Charley Hoffman. You'd expect to see Day get out of this one and put up a fight to retain his title.


12:43PM: Patrick Reed faces 2004 U.S. Amateur champion Ryan Moore, Danny Willett and Andy Sullivan in Group 15. With these last two groups set to square off Saturday, will we get a showdown between Ryder Cup partners Spieth and Reed? Can Sean O'Hair join them? Valspar was fun.


12:41PM: Our Masters champion is up. In Group 2, Jordan Spieth lands Lee Westwood, Matt Every, and Mikko Ilonen. Westwood has plenty of match-play experience, but a 14-21 combined WGC and Ryder Cup singles record.


12:35PM: In Group 12, it'll be a deep-ball contest between two guys who have already won on Tour this year: J.B. Holmes and Brooks Koepka. Russell Henley and Marc Warren round it out.


12:33PM: A face off between two U.S. Open champions highlights Group 5. It'll be Jim Furyk vs. Martin Kaymer, with Thongchai Jaidee and George Coetzee.


12:31PM: Rickie Fowler draws a match-play nightmare in Graeme McDowell. McDowell is 3-1 in Ryder Cup singles, 9-8 in the WGC, and, like Casey, a former Volvo World Match Play champion. They're joined Shane Lowry and Harris English.


12:28PM: Group 4 features a rematch of the 2012 Masters playoff between Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen. Those two are joined by match-play enthuiast Keegan Bradley and the Dos Equis guy: Miguel Angel Jimenez.


12:22PM: Across from Group 8, Group 9 pools Adam Scott, Chris Kirk, Paul Casey and Francesco Molinari. Casey is a three-time Ryder Cupper who has twice made, and lost, the Match Play final (2009, 2010). Also won the European Tour's World Match Play Championship in 2006.


12:20PM: Dustin Johnson will be joined in Group 8 by Victor Dubuisson, Charl Schwartzel and Matt Jones. Dubuisson lost to Jason Day in the final last year. Schwartzel took down DJ at the Presidents Cup in 2011.


12:18PM: The winner of Group 1 will play the winner of Group 16, consisting of Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Na, Joost Luiten, and Alexander Levy.


12:15PM: And we're off. Group 1: Rory McIlroy, Billy Horschel, Brandt Snedeker, and Jason Dufner. That's two major champions, and two FedEx Cup champions. McIlroy and Horschel played together in the final group at last year's Tour Championship and actually squared off twice in match play at the 2007 Walker Cup. Split the matches.


12:05PM: Talk of a "Group of Death" ensues. Can we get this guy to the studio, ASAP?

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Noon: The selection show is underway with ping-pong balls rattling around plastic bowls to determine who is going where, meaning the New York Knicks will get the No. 1 pick. Ewing vs. Rory?


11:35AM: Here is a look at the overall field. The top 16 players will comprise the No. 1 seeds in each group, with one player from the other three groups joining them:

Top 16
1. Rory McIlroy
2. Jordan Spieth
3. Henrik Stenson
4. Bubba Watson
5. Jim Furyk
6. Justin Rose
7. Jason Day
8. Dustin Johnson
9. Adam Scott
10. Sergio Garcia
11. Jimmy Walker
12. J.B. Holmes
13. Rickie Fowler
14. Matt Kuchar
15. Patrick Reed
16. Hideki Matsuyama
Group 17-32
17. Martin Kaymer
18. Billy Horschel
19. Brooks Koepka
20. Kevin Na
21. Victor Dubuisson
22. Ryan Palmer
23. Bill Haas
24. Zach Johnson
25. Chris Kirk
26. Lee Westwood
27. Ian Poulter
28. Ryan Moore
29. Louis Oosthuizen
30. Jamie Donaldson
31. Hunter Mahan
32. Graeme McDowell
Group 33-48
33. Keegan Bradley
34. Anirban Lahiri
35. Brandt Snedeker
36. Paul Casey
37. Charl Schwartzel
38. Branden Grace
39. Bernd Wiesberger
40. Matt Every
41. Stephen Gallacher
42. Brendon Todd
43. Joost Luiten
44. Thongchai Jaidee
45. Russell Henley
46. Webb Simpson
47. Shane Lowry
48. Danny Willett
Group 49-64
49. Charley Hoffman
50. Gary Woodland
51. Marc Warren
52. Alexander Levy
53. Jason Dufner
54. Tommy Fleetwood
55. Harris English
56. Marc Leishman
57. Andy Sullivan
58. Matt Jones
59. George Coetzee
60. John Senden
61. Ben Martin
62. Mikko Ilonen
63. Miguel A. Jimenez
64. Francesco Molinari

 

 

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Rahm, with blinders on, within reach of No. 1 at Torrey

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 10:10 pm

SAN DIEGO – The drive over to Torrey Pines from Palm Springs, Calif., takes about two and a half hours, which was plenty of time for Jon Rahm’s new and ever-evolving reality to sink in.

The Spaniard arrived in Southern California for a week full of firsts. The Farmers Insurance Open will mark the first time he’s defended a title on the PGA Tour following his dramatic breakthrough victory last year, and it will also be his first tournament as the game’s second-best player, at least according to the Official World Golf Ranking.

Rahm’s victory last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his second on Tour and fourth worldwide tilt over the last 12 months, propelled the 23-year-old to No. 2 in the world, just behind Dustin Johnson. His overtime triumph also moved him to within four rounds of unseating DJ atop the global pecking order.

It’s impressive for a player who at this point last year was embarking on his first full season as a professional, but then Rahm has a fool-proof plan to keep from getting mired in the accolades of his accomplishments.

“It's kind of hard to process it, to be honest, because I live my day-to-day life with my girlfriend and my team around me and they don't change their behavior based on what I do, right?” he said on Tuesday at Torrey Pines. “They'll never change what they think of me. So I really don't know the magnitude of what I do until I go outside of my comfort zone.”

Head down and happy has worked perfectly for Rahm, who has finished outside the top 10 in just three of his last 10 starts and began 2018 with a runner-up showing at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and last week’s victory.

According to the world ranking math, Rahm is 1.35 average ranking points behind Johnson and can overtake DJ atop the pack with a victory this week at the Farmers Insurance Open; but to hear his take on his ascension one would imagine a much wider margin.

“I've said many times, beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task,” Rahm said. “We all know what happened last time he was close to a lead in a tournament on the PGA Tour.”


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Rahm certainly remembers. It was just three weeks ago in Maui when he birdied three of his first six holes, played the weekend at Kapalua in 11 under and still finished eight strokes behind Johnson.

And last year at the WGC-Mexico Championship when Rahm closed his week with rounds of 67-68 only to finish two strokes off Johnson’s winning pace, or a few weeks later at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play when he took Johnson the distance in the championship match only to drop a 1-up decision to the game’s undisputed heavyweight.

As far as Rahm has come in an incredibly short time - at this point last year he ranked 137th in the world - it is interesting that it’s been Johnson who has had an answer at every turn.

He knows there’s still so much room for improvement, both physically and mentally, and no one would ever say Rahm is wanting for confidence, but after so many high-profile run-ins with Johnson, his cautious optimism is perfectly understandable.

“I'll try to focus more on what's going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win,” he reasoned when asked about the prospect of unseating Johnson, who isn’t playing this week. “I'll try my best, that's for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

If Rahm’s take seems a tad cliché given the circumstances, consider that his aversion to looking beyond the blinders is baked into the competitive cake. For all of his physical advantages, of which there are many, it’s his keen ability to produce something special on command that may be even more impressive.

Last year at Torrey Pines was a quintessential example of this, when he began the final round three strokes off the lead only to close his day with a back-nine 30 that included a pair of eagles.

“I have the confidence that I can win here, whereas last year I knew I could but I still had to do it,” he said. “I hope I don't have to shoot 30 on the back nine to win again.”

Some will point to Rahm’s 60-footer for eagle at the 72nd hole last year as a turning point in his young career, it was even named the best putt on Tour by one publication despite the fact he won by three strokes. But Rahm will tell you that walk-off wasn’t even the best shot he hit during the final round.

Instead, he explained that the best shot of the week, the best shot of the year, came on the 13th hole when he launched a 4-iron from a bunker to 18 feet for eagle, a putt that he also made.

“If I don't put that ball on the green, which is actually a lot harder than making that putt, the back nine charge would have never happened and this year might have never happened, so that shot is the one that made everything possible,” he explained.

Rahm’s ability to embrace and execute during those moments is what makes him special and why he’s suddenly found himself as the most likely contender to Johnson’s throne even if he chooses not to spend much time thinking about it.

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Rahm focusing on play, not shot at No. 1

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 9:06 pm

SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm’s meteoric rise in the world rankings could end with him reaching No. 1 with a win this week at Torrey Pines.

After winning last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his fourth title in 51 weeks, Rahm has closed the gap on Dustin Johnson – less than 1.5 average points separates them.

With Johnson not playing this week, the 23-year-old Spaniard has a chance to reach the top spot for the first time, but only if he defends his title at the Farmers Insurance Open.


Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


“Beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task. It’s no easy task,” he said Tuesday. “We still have four days of golf ahead and we’ll see what happens. But I’ll try to focus more on what’s going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win.

“I’ll try my best, that’s for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

Rahm has already become the fourth-youngest player to reach No. 2 in the world, behind Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. 

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Rahm: Playoff wasn't friendly, just 'nervous'

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:53 pm

SAN DIEGO – Too chummy? Jon Rahm says he and Andrew Landry were just expending some nervous energy on the walk up to the fairway during the first playoff hole of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

“I wouldn’t have been that nervous if it was friendly,” Rahm said with a smile Tuesday. “I think it was something he said because we were talking going out of the first tee.

“I didn’t know Andrew – I think it was a pretty good time to get to know him. We had at least 10 minutes to ourselves. It’s not like we were supporting each other, right? We were both in it together, we were both nervous together, and I felt like talking about it might have eased the tension out of both of us.”


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On Sunday, two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange saw the exchange on TV and tweeted: “Walking off the tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me? Talking at all?”

Strange followed up by saying that, in a head-to-head situation, the last thing he’d want to do was make his opponent comfortable. When his comments went viral, Strange tweeted at Rahm, who won after four holes: “Hopefully no offense taken on my comment yesterday. You guys are terrific. I’m a huge fan of all players today. Made an adverse comment on U guys talking during playoff. Not for me. A fan.”

Not surprisingly, the gregarious Rahm saw things differently.

“We only talked going out of the first tee up until the fairway,” he said. “Besides that, all we said was, ‘Good shot, good putt, see you on the next tee.’ That’s what it was reduced to. We didn’t say much.” 

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Tiger grouped with Reed, Hoffman at Torrey Pines

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:35 pm

SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods will make his 2018 debut alongside Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.

The threesome will go off Torrey Pines’ South Course at 1:40 p.m. ET Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open. They begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday on the North Course.

Woods is an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open, but he hasn’t broken 70 in his last seven rounds on either course. Last year, he shot rounds of 76-72 to miss the cut.


Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos


Reed, who has grown close to Woods after being in his pod during the past two international team competitions, is coming off a missed cut last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Hoffman, a San Diego native, has only two top-10s in 20 career starts at Torrey.

Other featured groups for the first two rounds include:

• Jon Rahm, Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker: 1:30 p.m. Thursday off South 1, 12:20 p.m. Friday off North 10

• Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele: 12:30 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:30 p.m. Friday off South 1

• Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama: 12:40 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:40 p.m. Friday off South 1