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Cut Line Bracketology Edition

  • Justin Leonard: Hes 5-foot-9 and the 131st ranked player on the PGA Tour in driving distance but when every hole counts and success is measured by longevity, not birdies and bogeys, the man stands tall like Yao Ming.
    Leonard has advanced past the first round in four out of his seven Match Play starts, he solidified his status as a Ryder Cup thoroughbred last year in Kentucky and has been clutch through three rounds in the Arizona desert.
    And heres a telling thought, Leonards caddie Brian Smith warned Thursday night that his man had, putted well, but hasnt run the tables yet. Probably not what quarterfinal opponent Ross Fisher wants to hear.
  • Ritz-Carlton Golf Clubs 15th hole: Drivable par 4s have become all the rage on the PGA Tour thanks to U.S. Golf Association setup man Mike Davis, but officials at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship hit a four-bagger with their set up of the par-4 15th.
    The 343-yard hole is the optimal length to entice all but the shortest hitters to take a swat and its position so deep in the lineup virtually assures it will be a factor in most matches, as evidenced by Tiger Woods wayward tee ball that sailed out of bounds and sealed his second-round exit.
  • United Kingdom: There was a chance for an all-England right-side of the bracket until Ian Poulter fell to Sean OHair late in his match and Leonard chipped in on the 17th to stun Oliver Wilson. As it stands three of the Elite Eight are from the Kingdom ' including Rory McIlroy, Paul Casey and Ross Fisher.
    Match play is a unique experience for us. For them its a weekly experience, said Rocky Hambric, who represents Englands Wilson.

  • Tiger Woods: The world No. 1 was solid in his return, missing only two shots all week, he said. His distance control with his irons was his only hitch, in part probably due to the thin air and altitude.
    The bigger question was how his rebuilt left knee would withstand the rigors of Tour golf on a hilly and lengthy layout. On that front Woods rates an incomplete, having only played 32 holes.
    The real test may come in two weeks at Doral for the WGC-CA Championship, where there is no cut and, even in March, the Florida humidity can be choking.
  • Match play: The same reason we love match play is the same reason it will always be a one-and-done format on the PGA Tour. For all the hype leading up to Woods return, the balloon busted late Thursday afternoon with his early ouster.
    There were nearly 100 media types waiting for Woods at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, a practice round day and a surreal scene that surprised even Woods. By Friday morning, there werent 100 media types left on property. The curiosity can also be a killer, and the truth is for every Woods and Phil Mickelson theres a Tim Clark and Nick OHern waiting to steal the show.

  • The economy: In rapid fire order, FBR announced it would be pulling out of the Phoenix Tour event because of the ongoing financial crisis and Wachovia, title sponsor of the uber-popular stop in Charlotte, declared it would do the same.
    The Tour was quick to announce that both events would go on and a search for new titles is already underway, but the reality of it all lingers. We always said golf wasnt recession proof, now we know it.
  • The desert: Dove Mountain is a wildly beautiful place but spend some time hoofing about the property and it quickly becomes clear the desert is no place for soft golf writers. Everything in the desert hurts you, starting with the Jumping Chollas, the heat ' which is described as the dry variety, whatever that means ' and all manner of reptiles.
    File the Match Plays move to Dove Mountain under the be careful what you wish for category. For years, golf writers blasted La Costa near San Diego ' a seven-time home of the Match Play ' as a wanting, rain-soaked venue. La Costa may have been a tad wet, but the plants in SoCal dont hurt you.
  • World Ranking: Like the BCS, there is probably no perfect way to rate the worlds best golfers, but the rankings are at their most-exposed Match Play week. With all due respect to Brendan Jones ' whose class in his first-round loss to Woods was a highlight of the week ' but there is something wrong when an Australian who couldnt keep a Tour card and hasnt played an event in 09 is among the top 64 players in the world and two-time Tour winner Nick Watney is not.

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