Fantasy Island Match Play

By Rex HoggardFebruary 24, 2009, 5:00 pm
On the eve of last years WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship Jonathan Byrd ' normally a quiet, thoughtful type ' was asked what he made of this match-play format. Its the best, Byrd gushed. Seriously, its like 18 little Sundays. You get fired up to play every hole.
Match play is a potent tonic for touring professionals who, by and large, are adrenaline junkies who want the ball with the game on the line. Adding You Know Who to the mix is simply the six-pack of energy drinks the Tour has been craving for eight months.

2007- WGC-Accenture

Pick a Foursome: Conventional wisdom takes a breather Match Play week, starting with the easiest pick well make this year. For all the reasons not to pick Tiger Woods ' eight-month hiatus, rebuilt left knee, less-than-Tiger-like record in match play ' there is just one constant that tips the scale.
I never doubt Tiger Woods, because after all, he is Tiger Woods, swing coach Hank Haney wrote in an e-mail to
Picks: A: Tiger Woods; B: Steve Stricker; C: K.J. Choi; D: Luke Donald
Note: One player from four categories based on the World Golf Ranking (1-10, A; 11-20, B; 21-30, C; 31-40, D). Points awarded on money earned ($1 = 1 point).

Salary Cap: Interesting week for the Salary Cap leagues. Stay with Woods, despite that $5.7 million price tag, and fill the team in with a dollop of promising Europeans that come at the blue-light rookie price of $250K. Young German Martin Kaymer could surprise some this week and Rory McIlroy is already looking like a future European Ryder Cup anchor.
Picks: Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Luke Donald, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy
Note: Five players with a $10 million cap based on 2008 earnings. Rookies without 2008 earnings will be priced at $250,000. Standings based on overall team earnings.

Pick One: Geoff Ogilvy. Keep in mind, this pick was made long before Woods ended the golf worlds collective wait last week. The Aussie has a victory (2006) and a runner-up (2007) in the Match Play, has found a good balance at home and, according to long-time swing coach Dale Lynch, is hitting the ball better than ever.
Note: Players must be picked before the start of the season and used only once. Standings based on total earnings.
This week, with the PGA Tour hosting the Mayakoba Golf Classic in conjunction with the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, our staff will be picking one player from each tournament.
The participants include: Brian Hewitt, Insider; Jay Coffin, Editorial Director; Mercer Baggs, Editorial Manager; Brian Koressel, Senior Producer; Dena Davis, Assistant Editor; Erik Peterson, Travel Editor; Jerry Foltz, special contributor.

NamePlayer PickReasonMoney
Rex HoggardTiger Woods/Rich BeemThe Mayakoba has a short history of going to veterans looking to redefine themselves (Fred Funk, 2007; Brian Gay, 2008); and Woods, well Haney said it best: Hes Tiger Woods.$147,957
Brian HewittPhil Mickelson/Brian GayThe rules of this league allow us to pick a player five times. For fourth week in row Im going with Lefty. Down in Mexico, I like the defending champion, Brian Gay, off to a hot start in 09.$1,429,090
Jay CoffinGeoff Ogilvy /George McNeillOgilvy has played well this year, plays well at the Match Play and is not named Tiger Woods; McNeill, with one top-10 this year, is a bit of a shot in the dark but he can go low at any time.$1,484,985
Mercer BaggsAnthony Kim/Steve MarinoThese two are as good as any, I guess. Could probably pull two names out of a hat this week.$1,296,248
Erik PetersonRobert Karlsson/David TomsThis Nicklaus design is similar to another of Jacks courses, Valhalla, where Karlsson spanked Justin Leonard in last years Ryder Cup singles. As for Toms, hes out to prove a point in Mexico.$1,101,646
Brian KoresselHenrik Stenson/Brian GayThe Ice Man will make a charge into the weekend and with the big names away at the Match Play, Gay will have even more confidence.$1,579,029
Dena DavisGeoff Ogilvy/David TomsAs the manager at Dove Mountain's 'Bashas Grocery' reminded me, this format and course just suits the former champion Ogilvy. And you do know Toms has 3 Top-25s in four starts, including a T2 at Sony, right?$423,285
Jerry FoltzPaul Casey/Steve MarinoTiger is too easy a pick and Phil only plays well when I don't pick him; Marino has finished eighth and second in Mexico the last two years.$405,146


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    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

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.