A number of European players are heading to the Volvo World Match Play after THE PLAYERS last week. The challenge is adapting back to the 6 hour time change from Ponte Vedra to Andalucia, Spain. Unlike TPC Sawgrass, Finca Cortesin in Spain is a very hilly course and both players and caddies will have to get used to the differences between this course and the flatter TPC Sawgrass.
Not having Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, and Lee Westwood in the field hurts the Volvo World Match Play and Donald’s absence is a bit surprising at first glance because Donald is represented by IMG and IMG runs the Volvo World Match Play. If Donald had played this week, he would have made five starts in six weeks and Donald is purposefully limiting how many events he plays in a short period of time in order to prepare for the Major Championships.
Luke Donald started slowly in THE PLAYERS before playing great golf on the weekend to finish 6th. He told Golf Channel last week that he tends to shoot himself out of contention early but close strong to record high finishes and that he needs to work on that. Winning in Majors is all about getting off to a strong start and sustaining that momentum and Donald needs to start his momentum earlier if he is going to have great chances to win Majors. 2012 may be the best year for Luke Donald to win a Major and Townsend thinks that the U.S. Open at Olympic Club is Donald’s best chance to win.
The Volvo World Match Play is being played in a round robin format for the first two days with 16 seeded players and 8 non-seeded players. Townsend is not a big fan of the format and wishes that the matches were 36 holes instead of 18 holes because 36 holes give a player more of a chance to come back from a bad start and the event used to have 36 holes matches in the past.
The absence of many big names from the Volvo World Match Play is very damaging to the event. It is now scheduled in the middle of the Major Championship schedule and lots of big names are focused on the Majors and not playing in a Match Play event. This event needs a schedule change, a format change, and a location change. The way things are now Townsend does not see this event growing and thriving in Spain and a big reason for that is the current state of the Spanish economy.