The Major Match Play Championship is down to some gut-wrenching semifinal choices.
GolfChannel.com’s quest to identify the greatest major championship ever played continues with online voting deciding which majors will advance to the finals.
The 1986 Masters, our No. 1 seed, rolled into the semis in the biggest rout of the second round, advancing with a whopping 75 percent of the vote over the 1960 U.S. Open.
The 1997 Masters, Tiger Woods’ runaway first major championship triumph, survived a tough quarterfinal match, beating out Francis Ouimet’s 1913 U.S. Open victory with 52 percent of the vote.
For Woods’ fans, the semifinals offer another tough choice. A week after the Woods 2008 U.S. Open title defeated his 2000 U.S. Open victory, there’s another Woods vs. Woods battle. The semifinal matchup of Tiger’s ’97 Masters victory vs. his ’08 U.S. Open victory guarantees one of his titles will make it into the final match.
Here are this week’s semifinal matchups:
• 1986 Masters vs. 1977 British Open (Watch Rex Hoggard's video analysis)
Nicklaus’ last major championship victory, the most emotional and unexpected of his record 18 major titles, will be looking to advance to meet a Tiger title in the finals. To get there, the ’86 Masters will have to beat the ’77 British Open, where Nicklaus played a major role in Tom Watson’s “Duel in the Sun” victory at Turnberry. Watson defeated Nicklaus in head-to-head pairings on Saturday and Sunday at Turnberry. Watson won the championship by a stroke, shooting 65-65 on the weekend to beat Nicklaus, who shot 65-66.
• 1997 Masters vs. 2008 U.S. Open (Watch Rex Hoggard's video analysis)
Tough call here. What made for a greater major? Woods at his most dominant in his four titles at Augusta National? Or Woods at his grittiest, showing his most resolve at Torrey Pines? Woods made his first major championship victory at the ’97 Masters look like a coronation. He amazed peers and fans alike with his 12-shot rout. In his ’08 U.S. Open victory, Woods seemed to amaze even himself at Torrey Pines. He looked at the trophy after limping and grimacing his way to victory on a fractured tibia and torn knee ligament and said he wasn’t sure how he managed to endure over 91 holes, beating Rocco Mediate in a Monday playoff that went an extra hole.