The Best Match-Up

By Rex HoggardFebruary 27, 2011, 6:47 am
2005 WGC Accenture Match PlayMARANA, Ariz. – It may not work for television executives, to say nothing of the casual golf fan, but more so than any other format match play excels at separating the wheat from the competitive chaff.

“I wish we could have more match-play events, maybe mix one into the fall,” said Ryan Moore. And that was after he’d just been bounced from the Arizona desert like a J.B. Holmes tee ball by Luke Donald in the quarterfinals at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, 5 and 4.

All the off-the-shelf golf fan needs to know of Sunday’s finals shootout between Martin Kaymer and Donald is that two of the game’s most consistent players withstood jumping cholla, fierce desert winds and five competitors to reach the title bout. They may not be the game’s brightest lights, but at this moment in time they are the best.

Martin Kaymer
Martin Kaymer will face Luke Donald in the WGC-Match Play final. (Getty Images)
Donald, who hasn’t seen the 18th hole in any of his matches this week and the 17th hole just once, has 11 worldwide top-10 finishes in his last 20 starts, just two missed cuts in that run, a victory and three runner-up finishes including at the Deutsche Bank Championship and Tour Championship.

It’s also worth noting that Donald began his 2011 Tour campaign with a swing change that he admitted on Saturday was still “a work in progress.” That should make Moore feel great, not to mention Matteo Mannassero (3 and 2), Edoardo Molinari (2 and 1) and Charley Hoffman (6 and 5), all of whom the Englishman dispatched with relative ease.

If nothing else, Donald will be rested when he tees off against Kaymer at just past noon here in the cold, and possibly snow covered, Arizona mountains having played just 62 holes to the German’s 67. He may need the extra energy.

The World Golf Ranking will finally catch up to what the golf world has known since last fall – Kaymer is the world’s best. That it took him this long to officially overtake Lee Westwood, which he did with his semifinal victory over Bubba Watson, is the result of a flawed two-year rolling window not Kaymer’s play.

Since his PGA Championship victory, Kaymer has added three more global goblets to his treasure chest and hasn’t finished worse than 31st in his last 11 starts.

Give Sir Nick Faldo credit, the 2008 Ryder Cup captain saw Kaymer’s potential – undoubtedly at the urging of his former caddie Fanny Sunesson, who has become part mentor, part sports psychologist for Kaymer – and gave the young phenom a walkie talkie and a front-row seat at the Valhalla matches.

If Kaymer’s play the last year is any indication, the 2008 Ryder Cup may be the last one he watches from the sidelines for a long time.

In fact, Saturday’s semifinal almost didn’t seem like a fair fight. The rematch of the 2010 PGA playoff was a study in contrasts, in one corner was Kaymer, coldly and clinically efficient, in the other was Watson who never met a swing worth repeating or a risk not worth taking.

Watson didn’t go quietly, carving his approach to the 17th hole to 6 feet for birdie to extend the match, but got into a chipping contest with a European at the last which is never a good idea, just ask Hunter Mahan, and lost 1 up with a bogey at the 18th hole when Kaymer got up-and-down for par with the uncluttered clarity befitting the world No. 1 elect.

“What makes him really strong is his mind,” said Watson, who has played his share of practice rounds with former No. 1 Tiger Woods. “Tiger’s mind in 2000 was unbelievable. I don’t know if (Kaymer’s) mind is that good, but time will tell.”

On Saturday, his ascension to the top of the world pack was no longer up for debate, but his choice of neck-ware was. For those wondering, the cloth Kaymer was wearing around his neck is called a buff which is an apropos assessment of his game.

Whether that lofty new spot translates to his second PGA Tour title, however, may be decided by a format change. The circuit reduced the WGC final from 36 to 18 holes this year, a policy adjustment that may give the hot-handed Donald – who has birdied 39 percent of the holes he’s played this week – an advantage.

“The good thing is we play only 18 not 36 tomorrow,” an exhausted Kaymer said, although he may rethink that after Sunday’s shootout.

It’s why Woods prefers the 36-hole marathon over an 18-hole sprint. It gives the better player more opportunities. Just like match play seems to identify the game’s best with much better expediency than the world ranking, which is why Kaymer and Donald are on a collision course.
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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

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Rory faces criticism

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President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

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Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


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Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

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Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

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Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

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Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm