Stat attack:! WGC-Accenture Match Play preview

By John AntoniniFebruary 17, 2014, 9:14 pm

The vagaries of match play preclude the use of advanced metrics to determine winners in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Don’t believe me, then how do you explain Shane Lowry over Rory McIlroy and Charles Howell III over Tiger Woods in the first round in 2013. Besides, this isn’t the NCAA basketball tournament, where a No. 16 seed has never beaten a top seed. The best 64 teams don’t play in that tournament, but the best golfers are in the Arizona desert this week. Well, most of them anyway. So if McIlroy, the top seed in the Ben Hogan bracket, loses to Boo Weekley Wednesday, let’s refrain from calling it as big an upset as Florida Gulf Coast over anyone in basketball. With that in mind, here's a look at each of the four brackets in the 2014 Accenture. (Click here for the full bracket and click here to play our Fantasy Challenge)

The Bobby Jones Bracket

 Best of the bunch

 Jason Day has best winning percentage in the bracket (8-3, .727 percent), and was third a
 year ago, losing to Matt Kuchar in the semifinals before beating Ian Poulter, 1 up, in the
 consolation match.

 Wednesday worries
 Henrik Stenson is 12-6 overall at the Match Play, but all that damage came early in his career.
 He hasn’t won his opening match since 2008.
 Who has the hot hand?
 No one, really. Of the five players who played the Northern Trust Open, none finished better
 than T-59 (David Lynn).
 First-timer to watch
 Patrick Reed and Graham DeLaet face each other on Day 1 and the winner gets either
 George Coetzee or the rested (but rusty) Steve Stricker Thursday.
 Major players
 If 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen and 2012 U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson
 win their first two matches, they’ll meet in Round 3. It will be a rematch of
 their singles match in the 2013 Presidents Cup, which they halved.
 Trending poorly
 Coetzee, who got into the field at the deadline by winning the Joburg Open, hasn’t won
 in the first round in his two previous Match Play appearances.
 Haven’t we met before?
 Simpson and Brandt Snedeker, who were 1-1 as teammates in the 2013 Presidents Cup,
 could meet in the second round if they beat Thongchai Jaidee and Lynn, respectively.

The Ben Hogan Bracket

 Best of the bunch
 Six players in this bracket have double-digit victories in the Match Play, led by Ian Poulter,
 whose 22 wins are the most in the field. Poulter has reached the semifinals three times and
 won it all in 2010.
 Wednesday worries
 Bill Haas is making his fourth appearance in the Accenture, and has never gotten out of
 the first round. 
 Who has the hot hand?
 Who else but Jimmy Walker? The three-time winner in 2013-14 faces Branden Grace
 Wednesday and could meet Poulter, the match-play buzz saw, a day later. 
 First-timer to watch
 Walker, not only because of his wins, but because of match-ups. While he plays Grace,
 the other rookies face daunting tasks. Harris English takes on Lee Westwood; Chris Kirk
 plays Jim Furyk; Marc Leishman plays Sergio Garcia; and Kevin Stadler
 plays Charl Schwartzel. 
 Major players
 Schwartzel and Furyk could face each other in Round 2. The winner of that bout might
 see Rory McIlroy in Round 3.
 Trending poorly
 Rickie Fowler hasn’t won a match since losing to Matt Kuchar in the Sweet 16 in 2011.
  Haven’t we met before?
 If Ryder Cup teammates Westwood and McIlroy get past opening day, a rematch of their
 2012 semifinal is on tap. McIlroy won that duel, 3 and 1.

The Gary Player Bracket

 Best of the bunch
 Matt Kuchar and Luke Donald, by far. Defending champ Kuchar has a 15-3 match record and
 was third in 2011. Donald is 17-8, and beat Kuchar, 6 and 5, in the semifinals on his way to
 the 2011 title.
 Wednesday worries
 Tournament rookie Bernd Wiesberger faces Kuchar; and Matteo Manassero plays Donald,
 who is 8-1 on opening day.
 Who has the hot hand?
 Scott Stallings (Farmers Insurance Open) and Stephen Gallacher are winners in 2014.
 Gallacher won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic for the second straight year.
 First-timer to watch
 Third-seed Jordan Spieth, who takes on another first-timer in Pablo Larrazabal on Day 1, is
 the headliner. A day-two match against the Francesco Molinari-Thomas Bjorn winner looms.
 Major players
 Defending U.S. Open champ Justin Rose is the top seed and takes on Scott Piercy. He could
 face four-time major champ Els in Round 2 and PGA winner Jason Dufner in Round 3 if
 things break properly.
 Trending poorly
 Something has to give in the Bjorn-Molinari match. Bjorn has only won once in the first round
 since 2005 and Molinari is 1-3 in opening-day matches.
 Haven’t we met before?
 Ryan Moore won three matches in 2012, losing to Luke Donald in the quarterfinals. They
 could meet there again in 2014.

The Sam Snead Bracket

 Best of the bunch
 Hunter Mahan’s 15-5 record includes an 11-1 mark over the last two years. He beat Rory
 McIlroy for the title in 2012 and lost to Matt Kuchar a year ago.
 Wednesday worries
 Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano has the unenviable task of facing Mahan on Day 1. But he did
 win two matches a year ago and took Tiger Woods to the wire in the 2012 opener.
 Who has the hot hand?
 Northern Trust Open champ Bubba Watson, of course, and runner-up Dustin Johnson. They
 could meet in Round 3 in what could be the week’s most appealing match-up.
 First-timer to watch

 It’d be tough for any rookie to get far in this Group of Death, but you can bet Martin Kaymer
 doesn’t envy playing Hideki Matsuyama on Day 1. The Japanese sensation would play Gary
 Woodland or Graeme McDowell Thursday before a showdown with Mahan Friday.

 Major players
 Seven players in this bracket played in both the 2010 and 2012 Ryder Cup: Dustin Johnson,
 Zach Johnson and Bubba Watson for the U.S and Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer, Graeme
 McDowell and Francesco Molinari for Europe.
 Trending poorly
 Zach Johnson hasn’t advanced to Day 2 since 2010 and was pounded by Jason Day,
 6 and 5, a year ago.
 Haven't we met before?
 The most intriguing potential match-up involves McDowell and Mahan, who could revisit their
 2010 Ryder Cup singles match if they both advance to the Sweet 16. McDowell won that one,
 1 up, to clinch the Cup for Europe.
Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.


Getty Images

McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

Getty Images

How The Open cut line is determined

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


• After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

• There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

• There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.

Getty Images

How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:30 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on GolfChannel.com.  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)