Skip to main content

After Further Review: Match Play continues to deliver

Getty Images
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 24: Justin Rose of England (L) and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland walk together on the fifth hole during the first round of the TOUR Championship By Coca-Cola at East Lake Golf Club on September 24, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)  - 

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on the epic WGC-Accenture Match Play final between Jason Day and Victor Dubuisson, other compelling moments including Sergio Garcia's bizarre move to concede an 18-foot putt to Rickie Fowler and what the future of the tournament looks like.

The Match Play Championship's competitive rhythm may typically slow to a seeming crawl on the weekend, with the possibility the game's biggest stars won't even make it to the weekend, but that's OK. There is still more overall drama packed into a week of match play than in most regular PGA Tour events. There are more thrilling winning shots and dispiriting failures.  Heck, on the first day alone, there are 32 winners and 32 losers. That sense of finality lingering over every match is delicious fare.

The Match Play Championship is a refreshing departure from week after week of PGA Tour stroke-play tournaments. It would be a shame if the PGA Tour takes all the fun out of those whirlwind first two days with a switch to stroke-play qualifying. You lose two of the best weekdays in golf doing that. Yes, not every Sunday can be a riveting sudden-death gut wrencher like this year’s Match Play final, but I can live with that, given all the drama this week still unfailingly delivers.  Randall Mell

Something has to give when it comes to the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Jason Day’s second PGA Tour victory and the emergence of France’s Victor Dubuisson aside, the final Match Play at Dove Mountain proved that the circuit needs to overhaul its version of March madness. On Sunday, Tour commissioner Tim Finchem allowed as much, telling reporters that no options regarding future venues, sponsors or formats were off the table. A game changing venue combined with a format adjustment that would assure players of at least two rounds would likely go a long way to making the event a can’t miss stop, both for players and fans.  Rex Hoggard

The WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship is the game’s most unnecessarily overanalyzed event each year, even before it starts. We can look at match records and recent form and horses for the course, but very little of this previewing matters once it starts. As Simpson once explained, “It’s just a bunch of stuff that happened.” (That would be Homer, not Webb.) Likewise, in the aftermath of the tourney, this analysis often spins forward toward the Ryder Cup. Sorry, but I have a difficult time believing that results in the Arizona desert in February will have any bearing on those seven months later in potentially chilly, soggy Scotland. I stopped counting after hearing and reading a few dozen references of, “If Tom Watson is watching right now…” It’s largely irrelevant for the U.S. captain. In fact, let me finish that sentence: “… he should take it all with a grain of salt, because despite all of the instant (over)analysis, there is no evidence that Match Play results will have any bearing on the Ryder Cup.” - Jason Sobel

We’ll never know whether Sergio Garcia would have conceded the 18-foot putt if he was not in need of a major image rebuild. Or if he was competing in the Ryder Cup, not the thirdround of the Match Play. Or if he was playing against Tiger Woods, not good friend Rickie Fowler. Maybe yes, maybe no. Yes, the move was bizarre – perhaps even foolish – but acknowledge this, too: Sergio’s mind was in the right place. The emotional Spaniard was clearly upset after being wrongly accused of cheating at a European Tour last month, and he said this week that the “world is a little twisted at the moment.” Some view this episode as the latest example that Sergio lacks competitive grit and mental strength. Not me. I see a player who, finally, is showing signs of maturity. Ryan Lavner