Immelman Enjoys Shot at Tiger

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CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Trevor Immelman plopped his bag onto the practice range about 40 feet away from Tiger Woods, paying no attention to the No. 1 player he faces in the second round of the Match Play Championship.
 
He respects Woods, but isn't intimidated by him.
 
Trevor ImmelmanHe sees their match Friday morning at La Costa Resort as an opportunity, not a crossroads.
 
'I don't think it's going to make or break my career,' Immelman said. 'I'm 24 years old, and hopefully I'm going to be around for a long time competing in big tournaments like this.'
 
It seemed as if everyone was going to be around La Costa forever on Thursday, when rain flooded the golf course and caused the second round to be postponed.
 
The World Golf Championship resumes Friday with two rounds of matches.
 
The only other time he played with Woods was at the American Express Championship last fall outside Atlanta, a stroke-play event in which Woods opened with a 67 and went on to win, while the young South African had a 70.
 
Still, Woods is no stranger.
 
Immelman works with Claude Harmon, the son of Butch Harmon, so Woods' name and swing has come up before.
 
'I've watched Tiger Woods' golf swing probably a million times, whether it be on TV or on video or on computer,' Immelman said. 'It's great for me to be able to there in the front row and watch it. I can appreciate all the work that he's put in and what he's achieved. But I'm not one of those guys who is just going to watch.
 
'That doesn't get into my head at all.'
 
Woods, who survived a scare from John Rollins to win 1-up with birdies on his last two holes, will be trying to tie the Accenture Match Play Championship record with his eighth consecutive victory.
 
The first six victories in that streak, of course, came last year by winning.
 
This one could be a struggle, for him and everyone else.
 
Fifteen of the first 32 matches went at least 18 holes, which Woods attributed to the greens being quick and bumpy, a combination that doesn't allow for a lot of putts going in the hole.
 
And one round into the five-day affair, nothing looks like a sure thing.
 
Vijay Singh played gritty Jerry Kelly. Robert Allenby faced fellow Australian Adam Scott. Stuart Appleby played Chris DiMarco, a rematch from Sunday singles at the Presidents Cup, where DiMarco prevailed.
 
Phil Mickelson plays British Open champion Ben Curtis, who is starting to feel good about his putting.
 
All of that was put on hold by overnight rains that left much of La Costa under water.
 
By the end of the day, there was plenty of blue skies and warm sunshine, but also lakes in the middle of the fairway and water that spilled over the banks of creeks and made the golf course unplayable.
 
'The main concern is the casual water in the fairway,' said Mike Shea, senior rules director for the PGA Tour.
 
The nearest point of relief appeared to be Palm Springs.
 
The golf course received 1 1/4 inches of rain Sunday night, and La Costa doesn't drain very well. Add the 1 3/4 inches of rain that fell overnight, and it was unplayable.
 
'We just couldn't play the game properly,' Shea said.
 
The forecast is considerably brighter, and Shea expected the tournament to be back on schedule by the end of play Friday.
 
Shaun Micheel was glad that officials didn't start the second-round matches without being certain they could finish.
 
'That would be such a momentum-killer,' Micheel said. 'And momentum plays a big role in match play.'
 
The only difference could be conditioning - by the players, not just the course.
 
Most of the 32 players remaining are in good enough shape to walk 36 holes in one day - especially since they're not carrying their own bags - but Micheel said it could become a mental test late Friday afternoon.
 
'I think you'll start to see some loose shots by the end of the day,' he said.
 
Woods worked for about an hour on the range and putting green, so the day wasn't a total waste.
 
It felt like one to David Toms.
 
He's coming off surgery to remove bone spurs from his left wrist, and this is only his second tournament of the year. He would prefer to play instead of practice, but he had no choice.
 
'I want to stay sharp. I needed to play golf today,' he said. 'I don't need to be out beating a bunch of balls.'
 
Related Links:
  • Scoring - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
  • Full Coverage - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
     
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