New rules: Stenson nearly walks off before breaking tie

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SAN FRANCISCO – The new format at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play caused some confusion during Wednesday’s opening round at Harding Park.

After losing a 1-up lead to John Senden on the 18th hole after the Australian made birdie, Henrik Stenson started for the clubhouse thinking the match had ended in a tie.

“I asked my caddie and he hadn’t done his homework either. I kind of had it in the back of my mind but I wasn’t sure. I asked him coming down the last if it was a half game and he didn’t know,” said Stenson, who lost the match when Senden birdied the 19th hole. “I was headed off to the clubhouse and [Senden] is like we have to keep on going.”


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In Stenson’s defense the Volvo World Match Play Championship on the European Tour uses a similar pool-play format, but it allows for ties until players reach the elimination rounds.

When the PGA Tour made the transition to pool play this year, however, it was ruled that each match would be played until there was a winner.

“I wasn’t keen for the format to change and finding out after I walked off the 18th heading for the clubhouse with a half game [point] that we had to keep on going that didn’t put me in a more favorable position for the format,” Stenson said.

“Potentially, I have gone seven extra holes [at the Match Play] before and to do that on Wednesday when you don’t even know if it matters on a Friday is pretty weird.”