Thirty-One Other Flavors

By Brian HewittFebruary 25, 2009, 5:00 pm
2007- WGC-AccentureYes, Eldrick, there were 31 'other' matches scheduled Wednesday in the opening round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona. And while the entire sports world focused ' understandably so ' on the clash between top seed Tiger Woods and down-underdog Brendan Jones of Australia, 62 other players competed for the right to advance.
The following is a special edition of the Wednesday notes column and contains a brief capsule from each of those 31 other matches, just in case you were wondering what happened on the rest of the golf course:

Sergio Garcia vs. Charl Schwartzel (Schwartzel wins 1-up) World No. 2 Sergio Garcia lost the first three holes and the last three holes to young South African Charl Schwartzel. It made him the second No. 1 seed in a bracket to go down (Pat Perez upset Padraig Harrington) and it made Schwartzel one of the happiest men in Arizona. Sloppy iron play late was Sergio's undoing.
Ian Poulter vs. Jeev Milkha Singh (Poulter wins 4 & 3) Ian Poulter got Milkha. Big time. Poulter in plaid, seeing well after a recent eye procedure, routed the Indian. Now Poulter gets a shot at his European Ryder Cup teammate, World No. 2 Sergio Garcia in Round 2 Thursday. Oops, not so fast, bloke. Sergio lost the last three holes and the match to Charl Schwartzel. Adios, Sergio.
Robert Allenby vs. Ross Fisher (Fisher wins 1-up) Ross Fisher, an Englishman, is easily one of the most underrated players in the world. He was also almost one of the most defeated players in the world Wednesday when he missed a 5-footer on the 17th green that would have put away Robert Allenby. Next up for Fisher is Pat Perez.
Luke Donald vs. Ben Curtis (Donald wins 19 holes) It tore up England's Luke Donald to miss last fall's Ryder Cup because of a bad wrist. But he's back at match play and he withstood a furious Ben Curtis rally. Curtis birdied four of his last six holes but pulled his second shot into the desert on the 19th and couldn't save par. Next for Donald: Vijay Singh.
Padraig Harrington vs. Pat Perez (Perez wins 1-up) Upset alert. Upset alert. Princeton beats Georgetown! Pat Perez, a No. 16 seed in the Snead bracket, held off No. 1 seed Padraig Harrington. Harrington had a 12-footer on 18 to send it to extra holes but missed on the left side.
Retief Goosen vs. Tim Clark (Clark wins 4 & 2) In a battle between the 33rd-seeded player in the field, Retief Goosen, and the 32nd-seeded player in the field, Tim Clark, it was Clark who emerged the triumphant South African. Clark now is next in line for Tiger Woods who, by the way, beat Brendan Jones 3 and 2.
Adam Scott vs. Sean O'Hair (O'Hair wins 1-up) Sean O'Hair birdied the drivable par 15th to take a 1-up lead over Adam Scott that held up when both players parred each of the last three holes. O'Hair moves along to a second round matchup against Boo Weekley.
Vijay Singh vs. Soren Kjeldsen (Singh wins 2 & 1) In yet another match that ended in a 2 and 1 decision, Vijay Singh, still recuperating from knee surgery (less serious than Tiger's) dusted the other 'Soren,' Soren Kjeldsen. Vijay was 2-down early. He is the first seed in the Hogan bracket. Who worked harder on his game ' Vijay or Hogan?
Boo Weekley vs. Justin Rose (Weekley wins 1-up) Roller coaster Boo Weekley, 3-up after six holes and 2-down after 14, rallied to can a 22-footer on the 18th hole to 'upset' Justin Rose. Rose, whose wife recently gave birth to the couple's first child, was the fourth seed in the Jones bracket. But he shoved his approach right on the final hole.
Mike Weir vs. Hunter Mahan (Mahan wins 1-up) Hunter Mahan is rapidly developing into one of the most confident and dangerous match play players in the world. His tight win over Mike Weir (nobody was more than 2-up at any point in the match) is just the kind of confidence builder Mahan would want to have going into his second round appointment with Rory McIlroy. The winner will get Woods if Tiger advances one more.
Stuart Appleby vs. Martin Kaymer (Kaymer wins 1-up) Only a cruel 'power' lip-out from 15 feet on the last hole kept Stuart Appleby from extending this match against rising German star Martin Kaymer. Australia's Appleby is the only man to have played in all 11 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships.
Rory McIlroy vs. Louis Oosthuizen (McIlroy wins 2 & 1) The precocious McIlroy, just 19 years old and already No. 17 in the world, ho-hums his way past Louis Oosthuizen, who will have to wait a long time before he wrests the nickname 'Oosty' away from Peter Oosterhuis. McIlroy is one win away from a potential date with Tiger Woods in the round of 16.
Jim Furyk vs. Anders Hansen (Furyk wins 2 & 1) Anders Hansen has played in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship three times and has yet to win a match. This time it was steady Jim Furyk who beat him. Furyk, the fourth seed in the Snead bracket, played his college golf at nearby University of Arizona and looked comfortable all day long.
Steve Stricker vs. Dustin Johnson (Stricker wins 2 & 1) Two of the hottest players on the PGA Tour, Dustin Johnson and Steve Stricker, needed 17 holes before Stricker, second last Sunday to Phil Mickelson at Riviera, prevailed. Stricker won this event in 2001 and gets Ernie Els next in what might be the premier second round match-up.
Stephen Ames vs. Alvaro Quiros (Ames wins 1-up) Stephen Ames is most famous for being on the business end of a 9 and 8 drubbing at the hands of Tiger Woods several years ago when Woods perceived that Ames had publicly slighted Tiger's driving ability. This time Ames got the best of Spain's Alvaro Quiros in a tight match. Next for him is Peter Hanson.
Henrik Stenson vs. Davis Love III (Love wins 21 holes) Davis Love III, who lost in the finals of this event to Tiger Woods in 2004 and then again to Geoff Ogilvy in the 2006 final, made a par on the 21st hole to hold off another former champion, Henrik Stenson. Stenson kept the match going with 14-footer on the 20th hole. Love now faces close friend Justin Leonard.
Ernie Els vs. Soren Hansen (Els wins 4 & 2) Ernie Els, who made no secret of the fact that he wasn't a big fan of The Gallery at Dove Mountain (where they played this event the last two years before moving to nearby Ritz-Carlton Golf Club) advances to the second round in this event for the first time since 2002.
Geoff Ogilvy vs. Kevin Sutherland (Ogilvy wins 19 holes) The 2006 winner of this event needed a testy up and down from a greenside bunker on the first extra hole to hold off a late charge by Kevin Sutherland who won this thing in 2002. Sutherland had bravely extended the match with a 12-footer on the 18th.
Robert Karlsson vs. Peter Hanson (Hanson wins 3 & 2) The only Hanson (there are two Hansens) in the field (there are also two Sorens), Peter Hanson pulled off the big upset against Robert Karlsson who was out of sorts from the outset. Karlsson conceded putts for losses on the second and third holes and never led. Karlsson, No. 7 in the world was No. 2 seed in the Gary Player bracket.
Trevor Immelman vs. Shingo Katayama (Katayama wins 3 & 2) Trevor Immelman, the reigning Masters champion and one of eight South Africans in the field, had a 6-footer on the 16th green that would have drawn him to within one hole of Shingo Katayama. Immelman proceeded to three-putt and lose the match to the 'Kat in the Hat' from Japan.
Justin Leonard vs. Andres Romero (Leonard wins 2 & 1) Justin Leonard, captured three straight holes beginning at the 10th, and then hung on tenaciously to outlast Andres Romero. Romero almost shocked the golf world at Carnoustie in the British Open two years ago, just missing the Harrington- Garcia playoff. Leonard was too steady on this sunny day north of Tucson.
Phil Mickelson vs. Angel Cabrera (Mickelson wins 19 holes) Phil Mickelson, the No. 2 seed in the Hogan bracket, was 4-up with five to play against Angel Cabrera and lost four straight holes starting at 14. Lefty, who won at Riviera last week, collected himself on the first extra hole and buried a 5-footer for the winning birdie that advanced him to the second round against Zach Johnson.
Zach Johnson vs. Graeme McDowell (Johnson wins 3 & 1) With a trip back to Augusta little more than a month away, former Masters champion Zach Johnson stuck an iron to 3 feet on 17 for the birdie that eliminated Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell. Johnson, the 28th seed over-all, is the seventh seed in the Hogan bracket.
Paul Casey vs. Aaron Baddeley (Casey wins 1-up) Aaron Baddeley, one of the best putters in the game normally, missed a 4-footer on the last that would have extended the match against Paul Casey. Casey won the HSBC Match Play in 2006 and is always a threat in this format. Next up for him is Matthew Goggin.
Kenny Perry vs. Matthew Goggin (Goggin wins 2 & 1) Veteran Kenny Perry, the No. 3 seed in the Player bracket, managed just two birdies all day against the voluble Goggin, one of eight Aussies in the field. Goggin won when Perry made bogey on the 17th hole.
Miguel Angel Jimenez vs. Rory Sabbatini (Jimenez wins 2 & 1) The 45-year-old mechanic from Spain poured sand into Rory's gas tank and earned a second round shot at the red-hot Villegas. Sabbatini was 4-down at the turn despite being near the University of Arizona where he played his college golf. Sabbatini made a mess of the back nine last Sunday at Riviera and it carried over.
Stewart Cink vs. Richard Sterne (Cink wins 19 holes) Cink, last year's runner-up to Woods, made a 47-foot bomb for birdie on the first extra hole after South Africa's Sterne had won the 15th and 16th holes to force the issue. Woods' group had to wait on first tee as this match played through on its extra hole. Westwood next for Cink.
Oliver Wilson vs. K. J. Choi (Wilson wins 3 & 1) First upset of day, if the seedings mean anything to you. No. 43 in world Oliver Wilson made par on 17 and K. J. Choi bogeyed the same hole. Wilson was a Ryder Cup surprise in the Saturday morning foursomes last fall when he and Henrik Stenson took down the Mickelson and Kim powerhouse 2 and 1.
Camilo Villegas vs. Rod Pampling (Villegas wins 7 & 6) Early audition for this year's Presidents Cup for Spiderman. Camilo raced to 4 up lead after eight holes and the rest was just too tough an ask for the flinty Pampling. Villegas won five straight holes at one point.
Lee Westwood vs. P. Marksaeng (Westwood wins 2 & 1) Euro Ryder Cup veteran got up early (3 up after 7) and never let up on Thailand's Marksaeng. Westwood hoping to make amends for not winning a full point in any one match at Valhalla last fall.
Anthony Kim vs. Wen-Tang Lin (Kim wins 7 & 5) Picking up where he left off in Ryder Cup, AK didn'tt lose a hole as he breezed past the little-known Tawainese, Lin. This is Kim's first appearance in this event.

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    Miller's biggest on-air regret: Leonard at Ryder Cup

    By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:00 am

    Johnny Miller made a broadcasting career out of being brutally honest, calling golf tournaments exactly like he saw them.

    His unfiltered style is what kept him on the air for nearly 30 years, but it wasn't always the most popular with players.

    After announcing his upcoming retirement, Miller was asked Tuesday if there were any on-air comments he regretted over the last three decades. One immediately came to mind.

    "I think that I didn't say the right words about Justin Leonard at Miracle at Brookline about he should be home watching it on TV. I meant really - I did say he should be home, but I meant the motel room. Even then I probably shouldn't have said that," Miller recalled. "I want so much for the outcome that I'm hoping for that I actually get overwhelmed with what I want to see. Almost the kind of things you would say to your buddies if you were watching it on TV, you know? He just couldn't win a match."

    After struggling on Friday and Saturday in team play, Leonard ended up the U.S. hero after halving his Sunday singles match with José María Olazábal by holing a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole - one of the most famous shots in Ryder Cup history.

    "Of course he ended up - after the crappy comment I made that motivated maybe the team supposedly in the locker room, and he ends up making that 45-, 50- foot putt to seal the deal," Miller said. "Almost like a Hollywood movie or something."

    Not only did the putt seal the comeback for the U.S., but it also earned Leonard an apology from Miller. 

    "I apologized to him literally the next day; I happened to see him. I tried to make a policy when I go over the line that I get ahold of the guy within 24 hours and tell him I made a double bogey, you know. That's just the way I have done it through the years."

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    Love him or not, Miller's authentic style stood out

    By Doug FergusonOctober 16, 2018, 10:11 pm

    The comment was vintage Johnny Miller, raw enough to cause most television producers to wince.

    Miller was in the NBC Sports booth at Doral in 2004 when he watched Craig Parry hit another beautiful shot to the green. Miller said what he saw. That was his job.

    He just didn't say it like other golf analysts.

    ''The last time you see that swing is in a pro-am with a guy who's about a 15-handicap,'' Miller said. ''It's just over the top, cups it at the bottom and hits it unbelievably good. It doesn't look ... if Ben Hogan saw that, he'd puke.''

    Parry got the last word, of course, holing out a 6-iron from 176 yards in a playoff to win.

    Except that wasn't the last word.

    ''I was in Ponte Vedra going back to the Honda Classic, and my phone is blowing up,'' said Tommy Roy, the longtime golf producer at NBC. ''It started percolating down in Australia, and you had radio stations demanding Johnny Miller be fired.''

    Miller could make golf more fun to hear than to watch.

    ''He doesn't have a filter. That's why he's so good,'' Roy said. ''What he's thinking comes out. And 99.5 percent of the time, that was a great thing for viewers, and for me. And 0.5 percent of the time, it was a problem for our PR department and for me.

    ''And it was worth it.''

    Roy was in Wisconsin on Monday night for his first look at Whistling Straits for the 2020 Ryder Cup. It will be the first Ryder Cup since 1989 that doesn't have Miller in the booth weighing in on good shots and bad with thoughts that immediately become words.

    He often entertained. He occasionally irritated. He was rarely dull.

    Miller is retiring after three decades calling the shots for NBC. His last tournament will be the Phoenix Open, the perfect exit for a Hall of Fame player once known as the ''Desert Fox'' for winning six times in Arizona. Miller was so good for so long that it was easy for younger generations to forget about that other career he had.

    Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

    Best of: Photos of Miller through the years

    And to think that was nearly his only career in golf.

    Miller said he wasn't interested when NBC first approached him, but then his wife stepped in and told him it would be nice to have a steady paycheck. Even then, it took time for him to realize his audience was in the living room, not the locker room.

    He made his debut at the Bob Hope Classic in 1990 and it didn't take long for him to leave his mark. Peter Jacobsen faced an awkward lie to the 18th green with water to the left.

    ''The easiest shot to choke on,'' Miller said.

    People thought about choking. Miller said it because that's what he was thinking.

    ''What came into his brain came out of his mouth,'' said Mike McCarley, president of golf for NBC Sports. ''He was the first to really talk about the pressure. It's the most important element of the game, especially in those really big moments. He was doing it at a time when others weren't.''

    It wasn't just the word ''choke.''

    Phil Mickelson was getting up-and-down from everywhere at the 2010 Ryder Cup when Miller suggested that if Lefty weren't such a good putter he'd be selling cars in San Diego. Justin Leonard and Hal Sutton were losing a fourballs match at the 1999 Ryder Cup when Miller blurted out, ''My hunch is that Justin needs to go home and watch it on television.''

    During the 2008 U.S. Open playoff at Torrey Pines that Tiger Woods won in 19 holes over Rocco Mediate, Miller suggested that guys named ''Rocco'' don't get their name on the trophy, and that Mediate looked like ''the guy who cleans Tiger's swimming pool.''

    It wasn't all bad.

    Roy, who also has produced NBA Finals and Olympics, said he wants analysts who first-guess, not second-guess. The latter is for talk radio. First-guessing means sharing instincts, and Miller had plenty of them.

    Woods was playing the final hole at Newport in the 1995 U.S. Amateur when Miller said, ''It wouldn't surprise me if he knocked this thing a foot from the hole.''

    And that's just what Woods did.

    McCarley remembers how retired NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol used to worry whenever Miller called because he thought it was about retirement. McCarley soon inherited that feeling.

    ''Every time I'd see Johnny's number pop up on my cellphone, my heart would skip a beat,'' McCarley said. ''Two years ago, he made that call I had been dreading.''

    McCarley kept him working a slightly reduced schedule, but no longer. Miller is 71 and has been on the road for 50 years. His 24th grandchild was born on Sunday. He wants to teach them fly fishing in Utah, perhaps even a little golf.

    Miller wasn't sure he would last a week when he started. He never imagined going nearly 30 years.

    He leaves behind a style all his own.

    Most loved it. Some didn't. But everyone listened, and that might be his legacy in the broadcast booth. Roy said what he has heard from viewers he knows is that 70 percent really like Miller, and 30 percent really don't.

    ''But they all have an opinion,'' he said.

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    CJ Cup: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 16, 2018, 9:20 pm

    The PGA Tour returns to South Korea this week for the second edition of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges. Here is the key information for the no-cut event, where Justin Thomas is defending champion.

    Golf course: Located on Jeju Island, the largest island off the coast of the Korean Peninsula, The Club at Nine Bridges opened in 2001 and was designed by Ronald Fream and David Dale. The par-72 layout (36-36) will measure 7,184 yards for this week's event, 12 yards shorter than last year.

    Purse: The total purse is $9.5 million with the winner receiving $1.71 million. In addition, the winner will receive 500 FedExCup points, a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour, and invitations to the 2019 Sentry Tournament of Champions, Players, Masters, and PGA Championship.

    Last year: Thomas defeated Marc Leishman with a birdie on the second playoff hole to earn his seventh career PGA Tour win.

    TV schedule (all times Eastern): Golf Channel, Wednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m.

    Live streamingWednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. 

    Notable tee times (all times Eastern): 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, 8:15 p.m. Thursday: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Sungjae Im; 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. Thursday: Marc Leishman, Si Woo Kim, Ernie Els; 8:25 p.m. Wednesday, 7:15 p.m. Thursday: Jason Day, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama

    Notables in the field: Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Ernie Els, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell and last week's winner Marc Leishman.

    Key stats:

     This is the third of 46 official events of the season and the second of three consecutive weeks of events in Asia

    • 78-player field including the top 60 available from the final 2017-2018 FedExCup points list

    The field also includes 12 major champions and two of the top five in the Official World Golf Ranking (highest ranked are No. 3 Koepka and No. 4 Thomas)

    Thomas and Koepka both have a shot to ascend to No. 1 in the OWGR this week - they will play their first two rounds grouped together

    Stats and information provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit

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    Els eyeing potential Prez Cup players at CJ Cup

    By Will GrayOctober 16, 2018, 6:55 pm

    Ernie Els is teeing it up this week in South Korea as a player, but he's also retaining the perspective of a captain.

    While the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia is still more than a year away, Els has already begun the process of keeping tabs on potential players who could factor on his International squad that will face an American contingent captained by Tiger Woods. Els played in last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and this week received one of eight sponsor exemptions into the limited-field CJ Cup on Jeju Island.

    Els played a Tuesday practice round with Presidents Cup veteran and Branden Grace and India's Shubankhar Sharma, who held a share of the 54-hole lead last week in Malaysia.

    "It's going to be a very diverse team the way things are shaping up already," Els told reporters. "We've got another year to go, so we're going to have an interesting new group of players that's going to probably make the team."

    In addition to keeping tabs on Grace and Sharma, Els will play the first two rounds with Australia's Marc Leishman and South Korea's Si Woo Kim. Then there's Sungjae Im, a native of Jeju Island who led the Tour money list wire-to-wire last season.

    "There's so many Korean youngsters here this week, so I'm going to really see how they perform," Els said. "Still a long way to go, but these guys, the young guys are going to be really the core of our team."

    Els, who will turn 49 on Wednesday, made only five cuts in 15 PGA Tour starts last season, with his best result a T-30 finish at the Valero Texas Open. While it's increasingly likely that his unexpected triumph at the 2012 Open will end up being his final worldwide victory, he's eager to tackle a new challenge in the coming months by putting together the squad that he hopes can end the International losing skid in the biennial matches.

    "The U.S. team is a well-oiled team. They play Ryder Cups together, they obviously play very well in the Presidents Cups against us, so they're a very mature team," Els said. "We are going to be a young team, inexperienced. But that doesn't scare me because I know the course very well down in Melbourne, I've played it many, many times. I feel I have a very good game plan to play the golf course strategy-wise and I'm going to share that with my players."