Perez Gets Tiger in First Round of Match Play


2007- WGC-AccentureMARANA, Ariz. -- Pat Perez left Pebble Beach feeling as if he had no chance to get into the Accenture Match Play Championship. He barely qualified Sunday, but that seemed to be little consolation.
Provided no one withdraws, he gets Tiger Woods in the first round.
'The last person I want to play is Tiger,' Perez said. 'I don't want to embarrass myself right now.'
This was the final week to become eligible for the 64-man field, and Perez closed with a 72 to tie for 24th, earning just enough ranking points to improve one spot to No. 65. Ernie Els has said he would not play, paving the way for Perez.
The field for the Match Play, to be held Feb. 20-24 in Tucson, Ariz., is not set until 5 p.m. Monday of the tournament. If anyone withdraws after that, his opponent gets a pass to the second round.
Anthony Kim was No. 64 going into the week, but did not play Pebble Beach after four straight weeks, and is playing his hometown tournament next week at Riviera. He slipped to No. 66, a mere 0.006 points behind Perez.
Other preliminary matches in the opening round look like reruns on the PGA TOUR this year.
Phil Mickelson (No. 2) would face J.B. Holmes, who beat Lefty in a playoff at the FBR Open last week. Steve Stricker (No. 3), would play Daniel Chopra, who beat him in a four-hole playoff at the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship.
Adam Scott would be the No. 4 seed and face Brendan Jones, whose closing 69 for a tie for 12th in the India Masters on Sunday enabled him to qualify for the Match Play.
Perez has never played in the World Golf Championship, and he has not competed in match play since he was a junior. Told that anything can happen over 18 holes didn't brighten his optimism.
'If I'm playing Tiger, anything would need to happen,' Perez said. 'I don't think he's going to be too worried about anybody he plays.'
Woods has won the Match Play twice, but was eliminated in the third round last year.
The more Perez thought about the prospects of facing Woods, however, the better it sounded. Last year, those who lost in the first round still earned $40,000.
'It would be a free show for me, watch him play,' he said. 'Unbelievable, this guy. I can't lose either way. If I beat him, I'm a hero. If I don't, I'm not supposed to win. If I beat him, I may quit, just pack in it. If anybody asks, 'When was the last time you played? Aw, I beat Tiger. I'm done.''
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship