Skip to main content

You Oughta Know: WGC-Accenture Match Play

Getty Images
<a href='' target='_blank'>@themichellewie</a>: Happy 80th Birthday Mr. Player!!! Your support over the years means the world to me! #myidol @garyplayer  - 

The week began with 64 players, but now we’re down to four at the season’s second WGC event. Here’s what You Oughta Know heading into the final day of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, where by sunset, one player will leave more than $1 million richer:

  • Jason Day has made it to the semifinals for the second consecutive year at Dove Mountain. While the Aussie has only one career PGA Tour victory, he’s had a number of close calls and has now improved his record at this event to 12-3 following last year’s third-place result. A winner at the World Cup last November in his native Australia, Day entered the week at No. 11 in the world, but will crack the top 10 next week after his second top-10 finish in 2014.

  • Rickie Fowler entered this week as a No. 14 seed, but has made it to the semifinals despite a difficult draw. Fowler defeated Ian Poulter, Jimmy Walker, Sergio Garcia and Jim Furyk in order to reach the final day of competition. As the 53rd overall seed he is the highest seed to reach the semifinals since Zach Johnson made the final four as the No. 59 seed in 2006. Should he win two matches Sunday, it would be his second career PGA Tour victory following the 2012 Quail Hollow Championship.

  • This week's tear through the bracket comes as somewhat of a surprise for Fowler, who has dropped to No. 56 in the world after reaching as high as No. 18 during the summer of 2012. Fowler has yet to reap rewards from a swing change in the offseason, and actually entered this week's event off three straight missed cuts dating back to the Farmers Insurance Open. His lone made cut in 2014 was a tie for 33rd at the Humana Challenge, and Fowler has not cracked the top 10 since a tie for ninth at The Barclays.

  • If this is the first you’ve heard of Victor Dubuisson, you’re likely not alone. The 23-year-old hails from France, and up until this year had only one career PGA Tour start. He won last year in Turkey over a field that included Tiger Woods, and already notched a tie for 13th earlier this month at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He entered this week at No. 30 in the world and will only rise from there after earning a spot in the semifinals at Dove Mountain.

  • At 44 years young, Ernie Els serves as the elder statesman remaining at Dove Mountain after bouncing top seed Justin Rose and rising star Jordan Spieth. This is the second time that Els has made the semifinals, but the first since 2001 when the event was played in Australia. His list of opponents that week included Jean Van de Velde, Craig Stadler and Pierre Fulke, who defeated Els before losing to eventual champion Steve Stricker.
  • Even with the inclusion of Els, this remains the youngest group of semifinalists in the event’s 16-year history, with the average remaining player just 29.93 years old. In addition to the four-time major champion, those teeing it up Sunday include Dubuisson (23), Fowler (25) and Day (26). When Fowler and Day square off Sunday, it will be the first semifinal match ever between two players younger than 27.

  • This is the third time in the event's history that the tournament has included four semifinalists from four different countries. The other two instances were in 2001 (Fulke/Sweden, Stricker/U.S., Els/South Africa, Toru Taniguchi/Japan) and 2007 (Henrik Stenson/Sweden, Trevor Immelman/South Africa, Chad Campbell/U.S. and Geoff Ogilvy/Australia).

  • Els is the second-oldest semifinalist ever at this event, behind only Tom Lehman who made the final four in 2006 less than two weeks shy of his 47th birthday. Should Els win it all Sunday, he would become the second-oldest winner of a WGC event behind Vijay Singh, who won the 2008 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at 45 years old. With the win, he would also join Tiger Woods and Geoff Ogilvy as the third player with three or more career WGC titles.

  • On the flip side, a win by Dubuisson would make him the second-youngest champion of a WGC event. The only player to win one in less time was - not surprisingly - Tiger Woods, who claimed the 1999 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational when he was 23 years, 7 months and 30 days old. Dubuisson will turn 24 in April.