When the golf media hired a bunch cheerleaders who only knew the name of one golfer, you could guess it probably was not going to end well. Never has that been more obvious than this year.
WGC Match Play week is here, and the golf media can’t talk enough about the “group of death,” a term borrowed from soccer’s World Cup. Okay, fine, if they want to use that term, it’s their prerogative. A much bigger problem is that the golf media has not done a sufficient job of educating sports fans about the new group stage format.
I have yet to hear a single golf reporter say or write that all matches will go extra holes in the event of a tie after 18 holes. This is important to point out because in the World Cup’s group stage, ties are not played off. Nor are ties played off in golf’s Ryder Cup (the match play event with which most fans are familiar).
You can find the no-ties information online if you look hard enough. I deduced it beforehand from the fact that the sports reporters seemed to rule out the possibility of a four-man playoff, which, were ties allowed, would obviously be possible.
That’s a very basic factoid, critical to fan understanding. Yet the golf media did not bother pointing it out, much less stress it.
Okay, moving on, a player in the group stage will finish either 3-0, 2-1, 1-2, or 0-3. Obviously 3-0 advances. The only other advancing outcomes are a two-player 2-1 tie, and three-player 2-1 tie. In the first case, it can be settled using the head-to-head result. In the latter, a 3-man playoff is required.If you lose in the first round, a happy outcome is still possible, but unlikely. First off, you must go 2-0, or else you are eliminated. Then, if your conqueror does not go 0-2 in the rest of his matches, your only shot is via a 3-way playoff between 2-1 records.Anyway, based on 50/50 match outcome probabilities, the chances of advancing after a first round loss must be in the 7 percent range. I didn’t run the numbers, but that’s pretty close.These are all things the golf media should have told us, but I had to do my own digging and computing.