Match by Match: Round 3 WGC-Accenture results

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 21, 2014, 11:23 pm

While 64 players began the week at Dove Mountain, we're now down to a field of just 16. Here's how things played out Friday during the third round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship:

JONES BRACKET

Louis Oosthuizen (8) def. Webb Simpson (5), 5 and 4: A day after dispatching with top seed Henrik Stenson, Oosthuizen kept the train rolling right along with an easy win over Simpson. The match was tied through the first six holes, but the South African won four of the next five holes to take command and became the first player to advance to the quarterfinals.

Jason Day (2) def. George Coetzee (14), 3 and 1: The Aussie had to go the distance in both of his first two wins, but Friday's victory was somewhat easier, as he led from the third hole onward. Day kept Coetzee at bay with a quartet of back-nine birdies, including a conceded birdie on No. 17 to clinch the match. He'll now face Oosthuizen in the quarterfinals, a matchup of two men who were Presidents Cup teammates last October at Muirfield Village.


HOGAN BRACKET

Jim Furyk (5) def. Harris English (9), 1 up: This was a well-played match for the most part, though English appeared poised for another win when he grabbed a 3-up lead through six holes. Furyk slowly made up the deficit, squaring the match on No. 12 and taking his first lead two holes later. After birdies on Nos. 16 and 17, Furyk was able to close out one of the game's rising stars with a four-footer for par on the final hole. With the win, the former Arizona Wildcat advances to the fourth round for the first time in this event.

Rickie Fowler (14) def. Sergio Garcia (2), 1 up: In easily the strangest match of the week, Garcia offered a surprising concession early in the match. It came back to bite him, as the Spaniard coughed up a 3-up advantage and Fowler finally took his first lead of the day when he stuffed his approach to the 18th. Garcia may get sportsmanship points, but Fowler is the one moving on to face Furyk Saturday in an all-American quarterfinal.


SNEAD BRACKET

Victor Dubuisson (7) def. Bubba Watson (3), 1 up: Dubuisson won each of the first two holes Friday and never trailed in the match, but Watson certainly didn't go quietly. The former Masters champ followed an eagle on No. 15 with a birdie two holes later to trim his deficit to just 1 down, but ultimately Watson was undone by an errant approach on the final hole. When his chip from off the green failed to drop, the Frenchman was able to advance by the slimmest of margins.

Graeme McDowell (4) def. Hunter Mahan (8), 21 holes: McDowell continues to defy convention this week, as he won for the third straight day despite the fact that he has yet to tee off while leading in a match. Mahan held a 2-up lead through 16 holes but the Ulsterman rallied to force overtime, then holed a 15-footer on the second extra hole to extend the match. He ended it minutes later after Mahan found some trouble, and McDowell will now play Dubuisson Saturday in a match that guarantees Europe will have a representative in the semifinals.


PLAYER BRACKET

Jordan Spieth (3) def. Matt Kuchar (2), 2 and 1: As defending champion, Kuchar proved a difficult out but even he couldn't overcome a birdie barrage from Spieth. The 20-year-old made nine birdies through 17 holes Friday, the final tally proving to be the knockout blow that snapped Kuchar's eight-match winning streak in this event. Spieth now moves on to the quarters, once again proving his ability to exceed even the loftiest of expectations against some of the game's best.

Ernie Els (8) def. Jason Dufner (4), 1 up: Els faced an early deficit, losing two of the first three holes to Dufner, but the South African was able to square things quickly and did not trail after the fifth hole. Els failed to break par for the second straight day, but like his match against Justin Rose he did just enough to secure the win, closing out Dufner after his wedge to the final green ended up within three feet of the hole. He moves on to face Spieth, a player 24 years his junior.

Getty Images

What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

Getty Images

Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

Getty Images

Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.