Stat attack!: WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship review

By John AntoniniFebruary 24, 2014, 3:09 am

If Jason Day’s thrilling extra-hole victory in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship was indeed the tournament’s last appearance in the Tucson, Ariz., area, the Australian and runner-up Victor Dubuisson sure gave Dove Mountain a sendoff that will be remembered. In the first championship match to go to overtime since the inaugural Match Play event in 1999, Day outlasted Dubuission in 23 holes Sunday to become the winningest player – percentage-wise – in Match Play history and the fifth Aussie to win a World Golf Championship title. Dubuisson continued his remarkable climb on the world ranking, can take Special Temporary Membership on the PGA Tour for the rest of the year, and almost certainly took the lead in a statistic that the infinite ShotLink database does not calculate. You know the one, proximity to the hole on chip shots from cactus with rocks, sand, twigs, television cables and six-inch rough between the ball and the hole.

Day’s victory gives him a 14-3 record in four Match Play appearances. His .824 winning percentage allows him to overtake Matt Kuchar as the tournament’s winningest player with 15 or more matches.

Best winning percentage (15+ matches) in WGC-Match Play history

 Rank Player Record Percentage 2014 finish
 1 Jason Day 14-3 .824 Champion
 2  Matt Kuchar 17-4  .810  Third-round loser
 3  Geoff Ogilvy 20-5  .800  Did not play 
 4  Tiger Woods 33-10 .767  Did not play
 5 Hunter Mahan 17-6  .739  Third-round loser
 6  Nick O'Hern 11-5  .688  Did not play
 7  David Toms  24-11  .686  Did not play
 8  Davis Love IIi  19-10  .655  Did not play
 9  Luke Donald  17-9  .654  First-round loser
 10  Henrik Stenson  13-7  .650  First-round loser

Day built upon his success in the 2013 Match Play touranment. He finished third a year ago, losing to eventual champ Matt Kuchar in the semifinals before beating Ian Poulter in the consolation match. Day is the seventh player to play six matches in the tournament two years in a row and the first to go from consolation winner to tournament champion in back-to-back years.

Players who reached the final day of the WGC-Match Play two years in a row

 Player Year One Year two
 Jason Day 2013 Consolation winner 2014 Champion
 Hunter Mahan 2012 Champion 2013 Runner-up
 Paul Casey 2009 Runner-up 2010 Runner-up
 Stewart Cink 2008 Runner-up 2009 Consolation winner
 Henrik Stenson 2007 Champion 2008 Consolation winner
 Geoff Ogilvy 2006 Champion 2007 Runner-up
 Tiger Woods 2003 Champion 2004 Champion

Day is the first Australian to win a World Golf Championship event since Adam Scott won the 2011 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

Australian World Golf Championships winners

 Player Tournament
 Jason Day 2014 Accenture Match Play
 Adam Scott 2011 Bridgestone Invitational
 Geoff Ogilvy 2008 Accenture Match Play
 Geoff Ogilvy 2006 Accenture Match Play
 Craig Parry 2002 NEC Invitational

Scott and Ogilvy have also won major championships, and although Day has an enviable major-championship record – three runner-up finishes in his last 11 major starts – a victory in a 2014 major is far from certain. In the last 10 years only two Match Play champions would go on to win a major in the same season.

Best finish in a major by the reigning Match Play champ (2004-2013)

 Year Match Play winner Best major result
 2013 Matt Kuchar T-8, Masters
 2012 Hunter Mahan T-12, Masters
 2011 Luke Donald T-4, Masters
 2010 Ian Poulter T-10, Masters
 2009  Geoff Ogilvy T-15, Masters
 2008 Tiger Woods Won, U.S. Open
 2007 Henrik Stenson T-1,7 Masters
 2006 Geoff Ogilvy Won, U.S. Open
 2005 David Toms T-10, PGA Championship
 2004 Tiger Woods T-9, British Open

Day’s victory Sunday also moved him to third on the final West Coast Swing money list for 2014, trailing Jimmy Walker and Bubba Watson. Day earned more than $1.5 million at Dove Mountain and supplemented that with a $366,000 check for his T-2 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Leading money winners on the West Coast Swing

 Rank Player Earnings Best finish
 1 Jimmy Walker $2,455,180 Won: Sony, Pebble
 2 Bubba Watson $1,953,890 Won: No. Trust
 3 Jason Day $1,909,200 Won: Match Play
 4 Zach Johnson $1,637,600 Won: Hyundai
 5 Dustin Johnson $1,551,150 2: Pebble, No. Trust
 6 Jordan Spieth $1,439,225 2: Hyundai
 7 Patrick Reed $1,405,152 Won: Humana
 8 Kevin Stadler $1,250,884 Won: Phoenix
 9 Scott Stallings $1,176,977 Won: Farmers
 10 Victor Dubuisson $1,061,906 2: Match Play

Dubuisson, with his more than $1 million on the PGA Tour in 2013-14, can accept Special Temporary Membership on the PGA Tour for the rest of the year. That means he can take unlimited sponsor exemptions. He is already exempt into the major championships and is now 23rd on the world ranking, a remarkable climb from 259th, his position on the ranking a little more than two years ago.

Victor Dubuisson’s climb on the world ranking

 Rank Time Period Note
 259 December 31, 2011  
 132 December 31, 2012  
 114 March 24, 2013 T-4 Malaysian Open
 100 October 13, 2013 First time in top 100
 39 October 27, 2013 Won Turkish Airlines Open
 32 December 31, 2013 Qualified for 2014 Masters
 23 February 23, 2014 Runner-up at WGC-Match Play

In additon to the majors, Dubuisson is exempt into the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral in two weeks, where he’ll get another chance at Jason Day and the rest of the world’s best players. The good thing is, last time we checked, Donald Trump hadn’t planted any cactus on the recently renovated Blue Monster course.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”