Match Play Strategy Euros v Yanks


2007- WGC-AccentureMARANA, Ariz. -- Trevor Immelmans game plan is a clear one. Which is rarely the case in match play at the games highest level, mainly because the top names rarely play this format.
More often than not, players waffle between saying theyre playing the course or their opponent. Not Immelman.
Im definitely playing the guy, Immelman said Wednesday at the WGC-Accenture Match play where his 6-and-5 victory over Thomas Bjorn was the earliest first-round match to end.
I knew Thomas was not on his game, Immelman said. I was just trying to not do something stupid. One down after two holes, Immelman won seven of the next nine.
Immelman remains the last player to have beaten Tiger Woods in a PGA TOUR event. It came last July at the Cialis Western Open. It was so long ago, Immelman said. It has all worn off.
Woods defeated J.J. Henry in his opener, 3 and 2.
Immelmans next opponent is Chris DiMarco who dusted Brett Wetterich, 4 and 3.
DiMarcos strategy against Wetterich: Having him looking at my ball on the green on every hole, DiMarco said. Thats the advantage sometimes of being the shorter hitter.
The significance of Michael Campbell vs. Justin Rose Wednesday was much deeper than it looked on paper.
It happens that Campbells coach, Jonathan Yarwood, and Roses coach, Nick Bradley, are best friends. Their families vacation together.
Unfortunately, Ive known Nick for more than 10 years, Yarwood needled before the match.
Its going to be a strange day, Bradley said. But actually we get along great. It can be a little bit nasty and whisper-whisper in this business from one coach to another. But not us.
As for the match: It was never close. Campbell, who injured his neck earlier this month in Malaysia, bogeyed three of the first four holes and never recovered. Rose prevailed, 6 and 5.
It was a little awkward, Rose said after the match. The banter actually started yesterday (Tuesday).
Playing against a Ryder Cup teammate, Padraig Harrington said, can be distracting. You have expectations for your opponent because you know his game, Harrington said after draining a 40-footer on the 19th hole to defeat Lee Westwood. Its a bit awkward.
There was very little awkward about the winning eagle putt that came after a 257-yard hybrid that finished in the middle of the green.
Next up for Harrington is Stewart Cink who handled Jeev Milkha-Singh, 3 and 2. This is the same Stewart Cink who dusted a red-hot Sergio Garcia, 4 and 3, in the Sunday singles at last years Ryder Cup matches in Ireland.
It is a theme you will hear all week long here at the WGC-Accenture Match Play: Virtually all the players in the field hadnt seen the greens at the South Course of The Gallery at Dove Mountain until this week. Add on the fact that the greens dont always break the way they look, and you have a recipe for confusion.
There are guys out here who read greens well and guys out here who think they read greens well but just remember greens well, Hank Haney told me.
Haney is Tiger Woods instructor. And, he pointed out, there is no memory bank this week on these John Fought-designed surfaces modeled after Pinehurst No. 2. This week you will have to read greens well, Haney said.
And, yes, Haney added, Tiger reads greens pretty well.
World No. 2 Jim Furyk expressed less concern. Coming here for the first time, we should be able to learn the golf course in a couple of days and should have a pretty good knowledge of whats going on, Furyk said.
Charles Howell III, when asked if he slept well Sunday night after defeating Phil Mickelson in a sudden death playoff to win the Nissan Open earlier in the day:
Oh, yeah. A lot better. A lot calmer.
In his first round match Howell cruised past Stuart Appleby, 4 and 3. Next up for Chuckie 3-sticks: Sergio Garcia.
David Howell, ranked No. 17 in the world had this to say about the prospect of playing Charles Howell III, ranked No. 16 in the world, in the finals to determine the best Howell in the world:
I think right now, both of us would take that prospect.
Those words were uttered Tuesday. Wednesday, David Howell squandered a 3-up lead after eight holes and fell to Rory Sabbatini, 2-up.
Paul Nolen is the head professional at The Gallery and thinks the Europeans may have an advantage on his golf course.
The run-off areas are shaved down and you need more imagination around the greens, he said. I think the Europeans might be more used to these kinds of conditions.
There were just four matches Wednesday that pitted Europeans against Americans. The Euros won all four.
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