Live Blog: Follow Tiger Woods at 2011 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
Golf Magazine's Mike Walker live blogged the opening day of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Tiger Woods lost his first-round match to Denmark's Thomas Bjorn at the Accenture Match Play Championship in Marana, Ariz., Wednesday in a back-and-forth duel which lasted 19 holes. Afterward, Woods admitted he was frustrated with his game, which has been inconsistent since his return to golf last year following his scandals.
"Pissed, that's where I am right now," Woods said. "I had the momentum and I blew."
Bjorn won the Qatar Masters event on the European Tour earlier this month. He will face Geoff Ogilvy on Thursday in the second round of the tournament. Golf.com covered the Woods-Bjorn match in a Live Blog on Wednesday:
6:57 p.m. Time to shut down the Match Play Madness Live Blog for the day. Thanks to everyone who read and commented. I hope you had as much watching as we did. See you later!
6:54 p.m. Tiger didn't mince any words in his post-round interview with Roger Maltbie, who asked Woods where he was in his "process."
"Pissed, that's where I am right now," Tiger said. I had the momentum and I blew."
Tiger also had some kind words for Bjorn, whom he congratulated after the match.
"Thomas is one of my good friends," Tiger said. "He's a class act."
6:52 p.m. Tiger checks his bogey putt from every angle but it never has a chance. Tiger concedes. Bjorn advances.
6:49 p.m. Bjorn rolls his short pitch to about 10 feet. He's still got the advantage but no one's changing the channel.
6:48 p.m. Tiger hits a nice fourth shot to the green. He'll have about 20-25 feet for his bogey so Bjorn might need an up-and-down par for the win.
6:45 p.m. Tiger gets back out into the fairway with his third shot. Meanwhile, Bjorn misses the green long and left with his second shot. He'll be chipping from there.
6:44 p.m. Tiger hits his second shot from so deep in the brush you can barely see him, and it doesn't look like the ball came out.
6:40 p.m. Tiger hits his drive way right into the desert brush, while, Bjorn stripes the fairway with his tee shot. Big advantage: Bjorn.
6:39 p.m. Tiger Woods and Thomas Bjorn are back on the first tee. Little bit breezier than four hours ago.
6:36 p.m. My office pick Lee Westwood is 2-up over Henrik Stenson through 15, but Reader FritzDaCat thinks I don't have a chance:
Mike- you picked Westwood in your office pool? Sorry, but he's not even going to get past my man Nick Watney in the second round-- again.
6:33 p.m. He got it! Tiger makes his birdie to extend the match. He and Bjorn are all square after 18.
6:32 p.m. Bjorn hits a slick bunker shot to about three feet. Tiger's not conceding it.
6:30 p.m. Tiger hits another brilliant approach to about 8-10 feet. Good chance for a birdie to extend the match.
6:28 p.m. Bjorn misses the green with his approach on 18 and ends up in the greenside bunker.
6:26 p.m. Tiger and Bjorn both find the fairway on 18. Bjorn is one-up.
6:24 p.m. Rickie Fowler defeats Peter Hanson to set up a second-round match with Phil Mickelson. It's going to look like a father-son outing.
6:22 p.m. After Bjorn misses his birdie putt, Tiger had 9 feet, 10 inches for birdie, but again his putt rolls past the hole. Bjorn is one-up through 17. Just one hole left for Tiger.
6:20 p.m. Reader Luke writes: It seems like a lot of people want Tiger to start winning again... don't you find it odd that When he was winning so much people wanted him to lose, now that he's losing, everyone (openly or quietly) wants him to start winning again?
I agree with you, but it's human nature. We'll be rooting for Charlie Sheen to come back to.
6:19 p.m. Ryo Ishikawa lost to Charl Schwartzel, but he won a fan in the Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee:
"I just watched Ryo at 18. If he leaves Japan, he could make a hell of a run. He could be the first Japanese player to win a major, he could win more than one. What a swing!!!!"
6:17 p.m. Wicked approach on 17 by Tiger and he's got maybe 12 feet left for birdie.
6:14 p.m. Bjorn's second shot on 17 from 190 yards looks good. He'll have a 20-foot uphill putt for birdie.
6:12 p.m. Both Tiger and Bjorn are in the fairway on 17 in what's shaping up as the best East Coast happy hour sports event of the year so far. Not that there's a lot of competition.
6:10 p.m. Steely par from Bjorn from about 8 feet and then Bjorn concedes (!) Tiger's three-or-so-footer. The Golf Channel's Nick Faldo can't believe it. Still, Bjorn leads Tiger by one with two to play.
6:08 p.m. From just inside 30 feet, Tiger runs his birdie putt just by the hole. Looked like it had a chance.
6:03 p.m. Bjorn misses his tee shot right on the par-3 16th right. Tiger pleads with his ball to "bite," which it does smack in the center of the green. Advantage Tiger, and he needs this one. Bjorn leads Woods by one through 15. Scorecard here.
6 p.m. Tiger missed it. Bjorn is now 1-up on Tiger through 15. Meanwhile, Kuchar finally defeats Hansen after 22 holes.
5:58 p.m. Bjorn chips close on 15 and Woods concedes the putt. Woods leaves his chip short and will have about 6-7 feet left for the halve.
5:51 p.m. Correction: Bjorn won the 13th hole to get all square. They halved the 14th hole and are all square on 15.
5:47 p.m. There is a notable lack of coverage of Westwood and Kaymer today on the Golf Channel, and Paul Azinger is wondering what's going on (via Twitter):
I with all of you responding to the lack of coverage of World #1..or #2 for that matter..I don't understand it either..
World No. 2 Kaymer is 6-up though 9 over Noh. World No. 1 Westwood is one-up over Stenson through 10.
5:45 p.m. What a comeback by Mark Wilson! He was two-down to Dustin Johnson with three to play, rallied to tie the match with a birdie on 18, and won on the 19th hole after a Johnson three-putt.
5:44 p.m. K.J. Choi defeats Retief Goosen.
5:41 p.m. Ryan Moore defeats Francesco Molinari 3 & 1.
5:35 p.m. Tiger chips up to the 13th green, but his ball stops well short of the hole. Long-to-midrange putt left for birdie.
5:32 p.m. Tiger, one-up over Thomas Bjorn through 12, missed the fairway on the par-5 13th with his tee shot. Tiger's second shot ends up short and right of the green.
5:30 p.m. The Guardian UK's Lawrence Donegan passes along a telling Rory McIlroy quote via Twitter from the Dove Mountain media center:
McIlroy continues to surprise with his candour..."Tiger and Phil haven't got any worse...(pause)...well Phil hasn't..(laugh)" Good on him...
5:27 p.m. Dustin Johnson was two-up with three to play against Mark Wilson, but he can't close the deal. Mark Wilson ties it up on 18 and they're going to overtime. This is the sixth match to go to extra holes. Wild first day in the desert.
5:25 p.m. Reader Dustin Clark asks: How is tigers game looking? does it look like he is regaining form at all?
He looks great sometimes, not so great other times. He's made some putts today, which will help his confidence, but 18 holes won't tell us much.
5:36 p.m. Hunter Mahan beats Sean O'Hair 4 & 3.
5:21 p.m. After winning three consecutive holes (9, 10, 11), Tiger halves the 12 hole. Tiger is one-up over Bjorn through 12. If there's still any confusion about Woods's score, you can see his card here.
5:20 p.m. Bo Van Pelt beats Louis Oosthuizen 2 & 1.
5:18 p.m. Tiger missed the green right on the par-3 12th. Bjorn hits his tee shot to about 20 feet. Tiger is one-up in their match.
5:16 p.m. Reader Richard Holtzclaw writes: With the earthquake in New Zealand is Steve on the bag for Tiger?
New Zealand native Steve Williams is on Tiger's bag, but I'm sure his thoughts are on Christchurch.
5:14 p.m. Charl Schwartzel beats Ryo Ishikawa in 20. The media center will less crowded tomorrow.
5:11 p.m. Tiger takes the lead after a good up-and-down on 11. He is 1-up on Thomas Bjorn through 11. Since the eighth hole, it's been all Tiger.
5:09 p.m. Phil Mickelson beats Brendan Jones, 6 & 5. He could be back in San Diego for dinner.
5:06 p.m. Bubba Watson beats Bill Haas, 3 & 2.
5:04 p.m. Tiger Woods, all square through 10 against Thomas Bjorn, hits his approach to 11 way right and he'll be looking out for rattlesnakes on his third shot.
5:02 p.m. Rickie Fowler, a darkhorse pick this week, is 1-up through 11 on Peter Hanson.
4:56 p.m. Coach Joe asks: SO.....What happened to Tiger on 9? He "was in great position to win one back" on 9....and suddenly we are on hole 10?
My mistake. Bjorn was 2-up though 8, he conceded 9, so Woods won one back. Then Woods won the 10th hole to square the match. On Golf Channel, Faldo questioned whether Bjorn had the "mental stamina" to keep up with Tiger. I clearly don't. Sorry about that.
4:54 p.m. Tiger keeps another drive in the fairway on 11. Bjorn leads their match by one.
4:50 p.m. Reader BX to Harlem writes: Despite what Tiger says about still not being all the way there with his swing, does he still have the belief that he is the best? Do the experts still believe he has the most game out there when he (finally) gets comfortable? Although he is still must see tv for me, I feel like he is such an average player nowadays. Very unreliable (even though in 2010 his cumulative scores in the majors was just a couple of strokes behind Mickleson (because Mickleson had a bang up final round in the PGA)).
Tiger doesn't look like he has the belief, but one win would change a lot. As William Goldman said about Hollywood, when it comes to Tiger's future, "Nobody knows anything."
4:49 p.m. Dustin Johnson is two-up with three to play against two-time 2011 Tour winner Mark Wilson.
4:48 p.m. Bjorn makes a mess of 10, reaching the green in four, while Tiger gets there in two. Concedes. Woods 1-down through 10. Woods all square.
4:47 p.m. Tiger's drive finds the fairway on the par-4 10th. He's two-down to Thomas Bjorn.
4:44 p.m. Phil Mickelson uses some short-game wizardry to land a soft half-wedge on the edge 11th green and then watches it roll down to about three feet. Mickelson is 5-up through 11 over Brendan Jones. Meanwhile, Ishikawa and Schwartzel are on the 19th hole after Ishikawa rallied to win 18.
4:41 p.m. Tiger, two-down through 8, makes another beautiful approach on 9 and lands softly about 6 feet from the hole. Thomas Bjorn is in trouble and Tiger is in great position to win one back here.
4:39 p.m. SI's Alan Shipnuck via Twitter on first-round winner Miguel Angel Jiminez: Jimenez wins. Favorite Mechanic moment: World Cup in Bardados he was strutting on the beach in porkpie hat, black Speedo, huge phallic cigar
Your favorite moment?
4:38 p.m. Charl Schwartzel, my darkhorse pick at every major, is one-up on Ryo Ishikawa on 18.
4:36 p.m. Reader SLCgolfr writes: Stricker got Shipnucked
(Shaking head sadly)
4:34 p.m. Reader Shoshanna on the strange hop Tiger's putt took on 8: Stevie told Golf Channel hit a spike mark, really bad break
4:30 p.m. Ben Crane beats Adam Scott 4 & 2, despite Scott using a putter large enough to seal your driveway.
4:29 p.m. Reader C writes: Quote : "Down goes Stricker. Matteo Manassero, just 17 years old, gets an expected win over the wily veteran, 2 & 1." Hum, expected win ? ... The guy is 17, first play on a WGC, Stricker can hole some big putts, whatever how "old" he is ... So it's a big win for the young guy ... As well for Rory (Golf Channel had it wrong once again)
Stone-cold typo. I meant to say "unexpected." I'm still shaking off some early season rust in the Live Blog.
4:27 p.m. Tiger misses his birdie putt when the ball pops up off his putter blade. Bjorn makes his birdie, and he's two up through 8 over Tiger.
4:26 p.m. Paul Casey gets the win over Richard Green on 19.
4:25 p.m. Phil Mickelson keeps steamrolling Brendan Jones, 4-up through 10.
4:24 p.m. Woods finds the left rough again with his tee shot on the par-5 eighth. His second shot gets up near the front of the green. Bjorn is in a greenside bunker. Tiger is 1-down through 7.
4:21 p.m. In all the excitement, I forgot to tell you that Ross Fisher beat Robert Allenby 4 & 3.
4:18 p.m. Rory McIlroy beats Jonathan Byrd 4 & 2. Good day for players from Northern Ireland. Could be a good decade.
4:16 p.m. Reader Johnny writes: I do believe she was talking about me sir not Johnny miller. Could be wrong but i do believe she was
Agreed. My bad. Lot going on at Live Blog HQ today.
4:15 p.m. Down goes Stricker. Matteo Manassero, just 17 years old, gets an unexpected expected win over the wily veteran, 2 & 1.
4:14 p.m. Tiger makes birdie. Bjorn is still one-up on the match.
4:11 p.m. Bjorn drains a longish putt and now Tiger's birdie putt is to halve the hole.
4:08 p.m. Tiger's drive lands left of the rough on 7, but he get a good lie. Then he sticks his approach and he'll have less than 5 feet for birdie. He could even this match with Thomas Bjorn right here.
4:05 p.m. Paul Casey and Richard Green are AS and playing 18. If Casey loses, that'll ruin as many brackets as Kansas losing.
4:03 p.m. Reader BX to Harlem says Johnny Miller is right about Tiger's affect on the game: Johnny has it 100% right. Tiger is still the draw. If we can have a play by play of every shot, many fans would appreciate it. Many thanks!
Sure thing, BX. If we learned one thing so far this season, it's that the only person at a PGA Tour event who can be as compelling as Tiger is Bill Murray.
4:00 p.m. Tiger makes a nice chip shot to just inches on 6. Bjorn leaves it in the bunker. Tiger gets one back, he's 1-down through 6.
3:58 p.m. A visibly frustrated Tiger misses the green right on the par-3 sixth, but he's not that far off. Bjorn's tee shot finds the bunker. He's two-up over Tiger.
3:57 p.m. Reader Travis writes: Mahan's swing is butter! One of my favorites....you can really tell his arms are just along for the ride and his core is doing all the rotational work.
Agreed. Mahan is a Live Blog favorite, and he's putting a hurt on Sean O'Hair. Mahan is 4-up through 9.
3:55 p.m. Tiger Woods misses a 12-footer for par on 5. Bjorn wins another hole, and he's 2 up.
3:50 p.m. Jason Day beats Kyung-tae Kim 3 & 2.
3:45 p.m. Lee Westwood 1-up on Henrik Stenson (remember him?) through three. I took Westwood in the office pool.
3:41 p.m. Reader Johnny writes: please stick to mostly tiger, there is plenty on twitter for all the other things.
Will do. Tiger is 1-down through 4 against Thomas Bjorn.
3:38 p.m. Reader SLGgolfr writes: Can someone post what the conditions are? Is the course in great shape? Weather? Green speed? Just give me anything.....(please). Bonus points will be awarded if its mentioned that the conditions favor one player over another...
Golf.com's David Dusek is out on the course now and here's what he's got for you:
The morning chill has worn off and the desert sun has warmed up the course nicely out here in Manara. There’s a light breeze, but it’s nothing more than a half-club wind and steady, so players shouldn’t be fooled by it. The most interesting part of the course setup is that the greens are noticeably slower than they were a few years ago. The first year the Match Play was contested on the Ritz Carlton Course at Dove Mountain after moving from its neighbor, The Gallery Course, everyone complained that the greens were too extreme. Before last year’s event, several were modified, more hole locations were created and the complaints went away. Jim MacKay told me this morning that they are slower this year than he remembers, but several still have huge humps and mounds, so good lag putting is going to be HUGELY important.
Off the greens, the course is lush. The rough is not especially deep, but what’s out there is thick and moist. The fairways are softer than a lot of players expected. Ross Fisher, who was a semi-finalist here two years ago, to me Tuesday the course is playing a lot longer, so length off the tee will be helpful. (Duh.)
When it comes to who the course favors, I’d say the locals. Geoff Ogilvy, who has a house in Scottsdale (two hours North) has won this event twice, and Paul Casey (another Scottsdale resident) has been a runner-up twice. Oh yeah ... both are members at Whisper Rock Golf Club.
Dusek also asked me to find out where he can collect his "bonus points."
3:35 p.m. Ryan Palmer wins his match against Jim Furyk on 18.
3:33 p.m. Reader clairatt: Tweet that, Poults!! Manassero takes down Stricker 17 and 1, on age anyway. Hey Tiger, are you stacked? Umm,Badds isn't, didn't he win last week? Hoffman needs some waste management. Yowee!!
Shhh. We need those for our Golf.com headlines later.
3:30 p.m. Reader Benjamin writes: You wrote about Phil that "he sure looks fresh so far this season." Really? Why is everyone predicting an amazing year for Phil when his West Coast swing--the places he usually performs best--has yielded one tournament in contention (Torrey Pines), one backdoor Top 10 (Pebble Beach), and three finishes outside of the Top 25 (T-29 at TPC Scottsdale, T-35 at Riviera, and T-37 at Abu Dhabi).
A fair point. I think the optimism about Mickelson is due mostly to his attitude. The guy has played a lot of competitive golf over the years, and so far this season he's appeared to have a spring in his step that's been missing. Is he really back after disappearing for most of 2010? We won't know until the Masters.
3:29 p.m. After his drop, Tiger misses the green right. Looks good for Bjorn.
3:27 p.m. Miguel Angel Jiminez wins 2 & 1 against Yuta Ikeda.
3:24 p.m. Tiger dunks his tee shot in the water on the par-3 third. Not even close. Bjorn hits his to the back right of the green.
3:23 p.m. Ian Poulter checks in via Twitter:
That was fast.
3:22 p.m. Tiger gets back to AS with Thomas Bjorn after a nice 12-foot putt for birdie on No. 2.
3:20 p.m. Phil Mickelson is 2-up over Brendan Jones through 5. Mickelson's not had a lot of success at this tournament, but he sure looks fresh so far this season.
3:15 p.m. Friend of the Blog Shoshana writes: Tigers ability to screw up the first hole is stunningly consistent, and has been for years
3:10 p.m. Graeme McDowell beats Heath Slocum 4 & 3. Don't even bother trying to buy tickets on the McDowell bandwagon. It's been full for months.
3:05 p.m. Tiger one-down to Thomas Bjorn after one. Don't sleep on Bjorn, says SI's Gary Van Sickle.
Bjorn made his comeback official by winning on the European Tour earlier this year. He is not easily intimidated and he's playing well. For that reason, the mildly surprising pick here is Bjorn.
3:03 p.m. Reader SLGgolfr writes: The Manassero-Stricker match immediately jumped off the page as the match to watch for me too!!! (is there a sarcasm font?)
3:00 p.m. Tiger just airmailed the green on No. 1. Here's what Tiger said when asked about John Cook's remark that things were "clicking" for Tiger:
Q. Tiger, did you feel something click with the swing last week at home?
TIGER WOODS: I got a better understanding of it. I think that's what John was saying. He was out there working with me and saw what I was working on with Shawn. It's just that I didn't quite have the understanding of how to hit all the shots in the wind. You know, that takes time. We finally put it together. Now I just need to keep working on it and keep heading down this path.
2:59 p.m. Ernie Els advances, winning his match with Jeff Overton on the 19th hole.
2:57 p.m. Y.E. Yang make a great approach and wins his match over Alvaro Quiros on the 20th hole.
2:54 p.m. Overton tries to punch it out of the desert scrub, but barely advances it. His second try gets to the green, but Els will have a short one for the win.
2:52 p.m. The Woods-Bjorn match is under way, about an hour after their scheduled tee time due to morning frost and some matches going to extra holes.
2:47 p.m. Reader C wants more Sticker on the Golf Channel: We've seen, what?, maybe 2-3 shots from the Manassero-Stricker match ... Come on ! And we'll spend 4 complete hours focussing on Woods ... Jesus !
Golf fans have always disliked the relentless focus on Tiger Woods focus, and it's even more pronounced with Woods struggling. What matches did you all most want to see today? I was looking forward to Mahan-O'Hair, Els-Overton, and Schwartzel-Ishikawa.
BTW, the Stricker match is AS through 11.
2:45 p.m. Edoardo Molinari beats Martin Laird 4 & 3.
2:41 p.m. Reader Shoshana Agus - Kleinman responds to Brandel Chamblee's comments: If he'd stayed with the swing he'd had with Butch, he'd have no left knee by now.
Yeah, there is that.
2:38 p.m. Nice 8-footer by Quiros to extend his match with Y.E. Yang to their 20th hole. SI's Alan Shipnuck says via Twitter: I hate to see either of these guys lose - they're two of the best personalities in the game.
2:37 p.m. Boom, baby! Overton makes his putt. He and Els are all square after 18. Tiger Woods and Thomas Bjorn will have to cool their heels on the first tee until these overtime matches conclude.
2:35 p.m. Ernie Els had a putt on 18 to win his wild up-and-down match vs. Jeff Overton. He misses and Overton has about 8 feet to get all square.
2:30 p.m. Cink sinks the putt and takes out defending champ Poulter. Only 19 months until the next Ryder Cup.
2:29 p.m. Poulter makes a nice run at a 30-foot putt on the first extra hole with Cink, who'll have about 6 feet left for the win.
2:28 p.m. Cink sticks his approach on the 19th hole of his match with Poulter.
2:26 p.m. J.B. Holmes beats Camilo Villegas, 4 & 2.
2:23 p.m. We've got some reader picks for the Thomas Bjorn-Tiger Woods match, set to begin soon.
Reader dk: tiger over bjorn 3 and 2
Reader MM: tiger over bjorn 4 and 3
SI's Gary Van Sickle picked Bjorn. I'll take Woods, but I think they'll play the whole 18 (at least). Let us know what you think below.
2:21 p.m. Alvaro Quiros wins the hole to square up his match with Y.E. Yang on 18. Onto the 19th.
2:18 p.m. Fellow Golf.com Live Blogger Connell Barrett just posted some highlights of a conversation with Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee on Twitter:
"It's gonna be tough for him to get any semblance of game this year. He has mental distractions. He probably will for the rest of his career. It's crazy all these swing changes. It's a perfect storm to sabotage his game. If tiger had stayed with the golf swing he had with Butch Harmon, he woulda broken Jack's record by now."
2:13 p.m. Par wins the first hole for Mickelson in his match versus Jones. Cink makes a four-footer on 18 to take his match with Poulter to overtime. They play the first hole next.
2:10 p.m. Cink is short with his second shot on 18, hits false front of green and rolls backward. Advantage Poulter, who is safely on the green. Their match is all-square.
2:05 p.m. Y.E. Yang is 1-up over Alvaro Quiros going to 18. Yang was two-down at the turn. I get the feeling he'd be a heck of a Ryder Cup player.
2 p.m. Phil Mickelson vs. Brendan Jones (the Duke-Mount St. Mary's of this event) is now under way.
1:58 p.m. Stuart Cink squares his match with Ian Poulter on 17. Let's hope this first match of the day sets the tone for the week.
1:55 p.m. Luke Donald took care of business early, knocking out Charley Hoffman 6 & 5. SI's Gary Van Sickle didn't make a pick on this one, but, don't worry, we'll be checking Van Sickle's picks all day.
1:50 p.m. Hello and welcome to the Golf.com Match Play Madness Live Blog. We've got a lot of great matches out there at Dove Mountain today. The best so far is Ian Poulter versus Stewart Cink. Poulter is 1-up through 16. We'll keep you posted on the best matches as well as provide regular updates on Tiger Woods's match with Thomas Bjorn, which starts at 2:15 EST. If Tiger needs to crawl out of the Grand Canyon, as Johnny Miller says, then Arizona is a good place to start.