Final Update: A nice enjoyable day of golf, if a little off-kilter. A lot of guys I favored lost, but Spieth and Rory won handily, so it was a pretty low-stress day. All in all, a good show. I’m enjoying these last matches with the shadows getting long. Very peaceful. My biggest complaint is probably having to wait most of the day for the matches to begin.
Kirk and Casey is darn entertaining! And Na-Luiten is going the distance. Two good matches to wrap up the day’s action.
8:50 pm Update: It looks like the final hour is primed to be the Kevin Na & Joost Luiten Show. The other two remaining matches are likely to end soon.
8:30 pm Update: When Snedeker prematurely tried to concede his match, Nick Faldo said, “Lucky he’s not playing Stenson.” There has to be a story behind that comment, but I don’t know it.
8:05 pm Update: If Terry Gannon tells us one more time, “Under the old format, Rose (or whomever) would be heading home,” I’m going to scream. First off, he is still unlikely to advance. And Gannon could just as well be saying, “Under the old system, Spieth would already be advancing, but in this new system, he may not make the knockout portion.”
7:35 pm Update: Marc Warren gets the point from J.B. Holmes. Another victory for the Euro Six. Rory goes up by three over Dufner after nine holes. Could be even worse as Dufner made two substantial putts on the first two holes to halve. Matsuyama-Levy not getting much TV time, but it’s one of the more compelling matchups of the day. Henley down one against Koepka, heading to the 18th; personally, I’d like to see Henley prevail.
Rickie Fowler! Golf shot!! Drives the green with a beautiful, perfect drive.
6:10 pm Update: Okay, Dufner, you don’t have to make every putt you look at. Fleetwood hanging tough, 1-down, one to play. It’s going to be nice tonight, what with plenty of prime time golf. Dubuisson getting pummeled, 4-down after 4 holes. Spieth just closed out Ilonen. Willet 3-up through 13 over Ryan Moore. Marc Warren 2-up over J.B Holmes, but eight holes yet to play. Sullivan just birdies to pull even with Reed. The EuroTourash players are making jalnichols look bad. (Once again…)
One further reflection on the Tiger Woods schedule release thing… Golf Channel almost seemed miffed about it. He’s become so obvious in his use of them for self-promotion that they are rebelling? Is that possible?
Donaldson just went 1-up on the 17th hole. He’s a Euro Sevener, but Wiesberger is also a Euro, one excluded from the Euro Seven for some inexplicable reason known only to jalnichols.
5:45 pm Update: Kind of hard to follow. I guess they can’t be expected to cover ever match on the course, but it wouldn’t hurt to give an occasional rundown of the matches in progress. Add a little “election night” coverage, if you will. Certainly there is no time for things like, “Here’s video footage of Poulter putting at Gleneagles in 2014.” Save that stuff for the pregame show. Focus on the now.
Gallacher lost big, but his game has been shaky lately. Most Euro Seven players are handing tough, as are most of the other Euro Tour players. The online scoreboard is almost a better way to watch this tourney; it’s pretty decent.
4:15 pm Update: Lahiri defeats Palmer 4 & 2. It’s time for jalnichols to apologize.
3:30 pm Update: I’ve always loved that Ian Poulter speaks his mind, but I long ago grew tired of him as the Groovy Cool Match Play Guy as written in crayon by the American golf media. So, I’m kind of enjoying Webb Simpson handing Poult’s head to him today. Besides, I tipped Simpson a couple of days ago as someone who likes to play in the City by the Bay.
2:20 pm Update: Twenty minutes in, and Golf Channel is having a full-on four-man panel discussion about Woods and his “schedule release.”
Here’s the truth about Woods’s “announcement,” though Golf Channel will never mention it… Woods is making doing this to earn his appearance fee at Greenbrier. Doing a little promotion for those guys during a week when the eyes are focused on the 64 players who actually made the field… Oh, wow, hold on — Tim Rosaforte just mentioned the non-appearance-fee appearance fee! Not quite as directly as I did, but darn near! Nice going, Rosie! (First time I’ve ever said that with no ironic intent.)
Actually, that’s damn cool of Rosaforte to say that. The guy who broke the story (about Greenbrier’s non-appearance-fee appearance fees) three years ago (I think it was), Steve Elling, got shipped off to Siberia for doing so, and I perceive this as Rosaforte tipping his hat to Mr. Elling.
This “schedule announcement” by Woods is disrespectful, of course, but it’s also sad. A declining Woods is now being forced to dance to the tune of Quicken Loans and Jim Justice. The image is Mountain McClintock woo-woo-wooing around the ring at the end of Requiem for a Heavyweight (which, coincidentally, was shown on television just last night).
2:00 pm Update: Fifteen seconds. That’s how long it took Kelly Tilghman to mention Tiger Woods’s “schedule release” during the so-called Pregame Show.
1:45 pm Update: Just as the WGC Match Play begins, and one hour before the Golf Channel pregame show starts, World No. 116, Tiger Woods, decides it’s time to release his schedule. He couldn’t wait until next week when he is, uh, actually playing and will be holding a press conference.
The events he is playing? Memorial. Nicklaus already stated that. The U.S. Open and British Open? Gee, those aren’t obvious or anything. The Quicken Loans tourney he hosts. Wow, what a shocker, especially since QL made him play last year when he was hurt. The other? The Greenbrier. (Indirect appearance fees at that one…) So Woods announces he’s playing the Greenbrier and times it to interfere with the Match Play. Desperate much?
Now, how long will it take for Golf Channel to jettison the Match Play in order to discuss the important “schedule release” of World No. 116?
1:25 pm Update: Lahiri 1-up over Palmer after two holes.
1:00 pm Update: And they’re off! Leishman birdies first hole of the tournament, goes 1-up over Rose.
Noon Update: I don’t know if it is the NFL Draft, the Kentucky Derby, the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, the goings-on in Baltimore, the nice spring weather or what, but if the traffic at this website is any indication, there is not much excitement about the Match Play this week. This is the least traffic I’ve seen since last January; even the week BruceE took over had more traffic. Harbour Town and New Orleans, two tourneys with far lesser fields did far better. You’d think with the groups and matchups, people would have more early-week interest than any non-major, but that’s not what I’m seeing. If this is any indication of general public interest, the Golf Powers are going to look pretty ridiculous for changing the format, date, and location.
6:20 am: It’s only 3:20 at the tournament site, but who can sleep? I used to consider Day One of the WGC Match Play the best day in golf. With the format change, that’s no longer the case, but it’s still a great day. The silver lining is that there are now 32 matches on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, instead of 32, 16, and 8.
It’s ironic they changed the location and time of this event to please Phil Mickelson, and then he bails on them. Adam Scott also skipped the event last year, which was, some said, due to his bad results at Dove Mountain. Woods was nursing an injury last year and couldn’t play, and that was illogically lumped in with the anti-Dove Mountain sentiment. The golf media made a big stink over the course, claiming the course and date took Mickelson, Scott, and Woods out of the tournament.
Let’s be honest here. It was all about Mickelson. Woods, for all his flaws, certainly never feared the Match Play at Dove Mountain or anywhere else. He was injured last year, and that’s all there was to it. As for Scott, none of the golf media — or at least the American golf media — really cares if he plays or not; he hardly gets any attention from them when he is in an event. He was mentioned only because it helped the anti-Dove Mountain narrative.
More honesty: Mickelson had a terrible record at the Match Play. In his last four appearances, he made it as far as Friday only once. In eleven appearances, Mickelson made it to the weekend only one time. The 6 & 5 beatdown he got from Rickie Fowler in 2011 was the final straw.
I’m not dumping on Mickelson here. My point is that the Golf Powers jumped through hoops to “improve” the Match Play largely to please one man, and that one man still isn’t playing. This case of the tail wagging the dog is particularly frustrating because last year’s WGC Match Play was one of the best in the event’s history. Jason Day cemented himself as a top player, and Victor Dubuisson introduced himself to the world in the most memorable Sunday of 2014.