Category: WGC-Accenture Match Play


February 27, 2013

Bubba Watson: Rory McIlroy will be No. 1 'for a while'

Posted at 5:45 PM by Mark Dee

Bubba Watson has never been one to sweat equipment changes. So it's not surprising that he isn't concerned about a certain peer who has struggled of late after a notable gear switch.

"I think Rory is going to be No. 1 for a while," Waston said of Rory McIlroy during a Wednesday teleconference hyping Watson's upcoming Masters title defense

"Think about it, we change equipment every year," he said. "We have a new driver come out from Ping, you have a new 3-wood, you have new irons, you have a new golf ball. It might be the same company but it's all new. You've got new golf shoes coming out, so they feel different on your feet. You've got all these new things coming out, so I don't see [switching] as that big of a change."

But there is one thing that does bother Bubba: "I think the biggest change in changing a product would be the logo... I'm a feel player. When something is changed like that, I know it."

Watson added that a couple poor results here and there isn't cause for hitting the panic button, either -- especially if one of those results comes in match play.  

"There's nobody in the history of the game that's been 100 percent on making cuts, so Rory missed the first cut... That's why I think match play is such a goofy tournament anyway. [Losing in] the first round [as McIlroy did last week], I don't see that shows us anything. And a missed cut is a missed cut; everybody going to do it. No matter how many times you try, you can't make every cut."

McIlroy will defend his title at the Honda Classic starting Thursday, a tournament he won last year playing clubs with noticeably different logos.

Watson, meanwhile, won't be there with him. He's got a birthday party to host on Saturday. His son Caleb just turned one.

February 14, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Lee Trevino says Tiger needs Butch

Posted at 1:19 PM by Michael Chwasky

Yet another Tiger Woods Sunday meltdown has pundits, fans, and players alike wondering if the former No. 1 will ever get his mojo back. His Sean Foley swing looks pretty solid these days, but his inability to get the job done on Sunday raises questions about the direction Tiger is moving. Lee Trevino, who has never been afraid to voice his opinion, thinks the answer to Woods's woes is pretty simple -- go back to Butch Harmon

"I would call a Realtor in Henderson, Nevada, and I'd find out where Butch lived and I'd buy the house next door," said Trevino, appearing on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Galloway & Company on Monday afternoon. "I'd go over and ring the doorbell and say, 'Hi, neighbor,' and get back with Butch. That's exactly what I would do."

As everyone knows, Butch Harmon and Tiger worked together from his amateur days until 2002, during which time Eldrick bagged eight majors while completely dominating the game of golf. And as everyone also knows, Harmon currently coaches Phil Mickelson, who has beat up on Tiger in recent years, including last Sunday. Harmon has tightened Phil's swing in a -- no pun intended -- major way. According to Trevino, winner of six majors during his career, it's time for the two former friends to "bury the hatchet," and get back together. 

"I'm sure there's bad blood there, at least that's what I've heard," Trevino said. "I haven't talked to Butch in years, so I don't know how he feels with Tiger and I don't know if Tiger is too proud to ask for the help and if he asked for help if Butch would give it to him. But I think they speak to each other when they see each other at tournaments. If they do that, I don't see why two grown people can't sit down. He's all messed up right now."

Donald, Westwood, McIlroy and Kaymer are top seeds in Match Play event 

The qualifying period for the WGC-Accenture Match Play is now over and the field is pretty well set. No's 1-4 in the world, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Martin Kaymer will grab the top seeds in each of the four brackets, while Ernie Els, who was on the outside looking in at 65th in the world, has just managed to slip into the tournament via Phil Mickelson's decision to skip the event. Other big names who were not so lucky include Ryan Moore at 67th, Robert Allenby at 68th, and Charles Howell III at 70th. 

Rafael Cabrera-Bello, who just won the Omega Dubai Desert Classic by holding off Westwood, moved up to 60th in the world from 119th to earn his first bid in the prestigious event. Nicolas Colsaerts also played well this past weekend and managed to grab the final 64th spot, knocking Ernie Els temporarily out of the field. Other notables who qualified for the Tucson event include Kevin Na at 62nd, Matteo Manassero at 61st, Jim Furyk at 59th, and Tiger-slayer Robert Rock at 58th. 

Tweet of the Day

Rose-Tweet

 

January 23, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Phil Mickelson to skip WGC-Accenture Match Play

Posted at 11:41 AM by Mick Rouse

Following his tie for 49th place at the Humana Challenge, Phil Mickelson announced that he would be skipping next month’s WGC-Accenture Match Play. Alex Miceli has the story:

Mickelson, playing in the Humana Challenge for the first time in five years, has a conflict with his children’s spring break and, as in the past, will take the week off to vacation with his three children and wife, Amy, during the Feb. 22-26 Match Play.

“I'm going to end up missing the Match Play this year as we're going to go on a family trip,” Mickelson, No. 15 in the Official World Golf Ranking, said Sunday after completing his third round here. “So as I miss that tournament, it was easier to add this one, too.”

Those wanting more of Lefty won’t have to look hard to find him. Mickelson will be making his rounds on the West Coast over the next few weeks, playing the Farmers Insurance Open, Waste Management Phoenix Open, AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and Northern Trust Open before taking a week off with the family for a little R&R.

Coming to America

Chubby Chandler may have lost his brightest star in Rory McIlroy, but that hasn’t deterred ISM’s head honcho from seeking out new talent. Expect many of those new clients to bleed red, white and blue. While speaking with Golf Talk Central, Chandler stated that he would sign more American players this year than Europeans. 

Chandler recently set up shop in South Florida, ISM’s new American base, and has signed Peter Uihlein and Ben An in the last two months alone. 

Rex Hoggard of Golf Talk Central is also reporting that Steve Zika will take the lead on ISM’s descent into the American talent pool: 

GTC has confirmed through various sources that Steve Zika, a longtime tour representative for Ping, will be ISM’s American front-man. 

Zika was with Ping for a dozen years and worked with the company’s PGA Tour team since 2001. It was during this time that Zika fostered a relationship with Lee Westwood, No. 2 in the World Golf Ranking and a longtime member of Chandler’s stable.

Bubba gets a new ride

Contrary to what Christina Kim thinks, Bubba Watson apparently can have it all. This past weekend, Watson became the proud new owner of the original General Lee car from the “Dukes of Hazzard.” While at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., Bubba tweeted a photo of the legendary vehicle:  

Roughly five hours later, Watson sent out a follow-up tweet, exclaiming, “Just got my dream car!!!” 

Never one to shy away from the send button, Bubba has since continued to tweet about his new prized possession, including this picture of him gassing up the General: 

Watson has also contacted Notorious Whips with plans of customizing the classic Dodge Charger, including a complete restore of the inside. 

And before you even ask, yes, the horn still works. 

All in all, the General Lee set Bubba back a mere $110,000. Not too shabby considering he owns a watch worth more than four times that. Hey Bubba, just make sure you keep an eye out for Roscoe

Tweet of the Day 

 

February 25, 2011

Rumors: Jim Thorpe reflects on time in prison

Posted at 11:37 AM by Alan Bastable

Tip of the visor to Golfweek’s Jeff Rude who nabbed the first in-depth interview with Jim Thorpe since the Champions Tour stalwart was released from prison; you can watch the video here. Thorpe spent one year in the Federal Prison Camp in Montgomery, Ala., a minimum-security facility, for failing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in income taxes.

“I never thought I’d get old in life and have to go to a prison camp, but when you make mistakes in life, you pay for it,” Thorpe said.

Thorpe said his fellow inmates dubbed him “Ice Man” and “Old School” and that life in the camp, where the inmates have access to a movie theater, two basketball courts, two swimming pools and a pair of golf courses, was more tolerable than he had expected.

The food was pretty decent, too. Thorpe says he gained 20 pounds.

The golfer accepts full responsibility for his crime, but he still feels singled out.

“The funny thing is,” he says, “they never talk about the [taxes] you pay, it’s the ones you miss.”

Tiger RSVPs for the Honda. It’s a ‘no’

The last time we saw Tiger Woods, he was not happy. His eye bulged and proverbial steam poured out his ears as he tried to explain to reporters how he lost to Thomas Bjorn in the first round of the Match Play. The next time we’ll see Tiger? It won’t be at next week’s Honda Classic, as some had predicted.

There was some speculation that Woods, who has built a mansion on Jupiter Island and is expected to move in soon, would add the Honda Classic to his schedule after his first-round loss Wednesday in the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona.

Woods has played only one round of PGA Tour golf - the match-play loss to Thomas Bjorn - since finishing in a tie for 44th place at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in January. Woods also finished tied for 20th at the non-Tour Dubai Desert Classic event in February.

Woods, according to a spokesman's e-mail, will not play at Honda due to "existing commitments." The Honda Classic is March 3-6. Woods is expected to play next in the Cadillac Championship at Doral, which is an event he routinely includes on his schedule. That tournament is March 10-13.

Tour rookie ripe for Gillette sponsorship

In the last 24 hours much ink has been spilled over Rickie Fowler (heretofore the Pink Pant-er) and his 6-and-5 thumping of Phil Mickelson at the Match Play. But at the Tour’s other stop this week, in Mexico, another pro with inimitable style is making some noise of his own—Andres Gonzales. A Tour rookie, Gonzo hung up a 65 yesterday at the Mayakoba Golf Classic for a share of the first-round lead, wowing fans with both his game and his 'stache—a bold fu manchu that is more befitting of a fireball-hurling relief pitcher than a PGA Tour golfer. Brian Hurlburt at GolfLasVegasNow.com has more:

Gonzo While his look will turn heads—those in Mexico believe he is Mexican and are speaking Spanish to him this week (he says he does “un poquito")—it will be his talent that earns the loyalty. Gonzales qualified for the PGA Tour with a 22nd-place finish at Q School in 2010. He has also earned his playing stripes with stints on several mini tours, claiming wins on at least four: Butch Harmon Vegas Tour, Canadian Tour, Gateway Tour, and A.G. Spanos Tour. Four wins on any professional tour is no fluke.

While he missed his first two cuts on the PGA Tour in 2011, he rallied back from very disappointing first rounds of 77 with rounds of 68 in both events he played prior to Mexico. Again, showing talent and determination when others might have faded.
 

Tweets of the Day

96617990_8_normal @PaulAzinger: The SPACE SHUTTLE TAKING OFF! Video from my iphone.. http://yfrog.us/6ztbaz

 

IMG_0686_normal @stewartcink I don't know how to speak Korean so I told Yang "Thanks for the butt kicking" in English. I think he understood just fine.

February 24, 2011

Truth & Rumors: Nuts! David Feherty takes low blow at school visit

Posted at 3:56 PM by Michael Chwasky

Everyone knows David Feherty likes to entertain, in his own unusual way, but the CBS reporter (and Golf Magazine writer) reached a new high (or low, depending on how you look at it) in a visit to J. Erik Jonsson Community School in Dallas on Wednesday. Feherty met with students to talk about life and golf in hopes of teaching them lessons he learned through his, ahem, varied experiences. After the talk, Feherty donned a protective suit and helmet and let some of the kids hit golf balls at him. Unfortunately one of the kids decided to hit a knock-down shot:

 

Tiger Woods the Tour's new Devil Ball?

Recently John Cook was raving about how incredibly well Tiger was striking the ball on the range at Isleworth. According to Cook, Tiger's swing just "clicked." Of course we've been hearing this sort of thing a lot from people around the Tour, including the world's former No. 1 himself. But Tiger's performance in tournaments, most notably his ousting from the WGC event in Tucson Wednesday, might have earned him a new nickname: "Devil Ball."

The genesis of this nickname was a 1970's-era Tour player who killed the ball on the range and often looked great early on in tournaments. The original Devil Ball would routinely look like Ben Hogan in practice, go low on the front nine, and then suddenly hit what caddies called "The Devil Ball"—a shot that came out of nowhere and inexplicably went way right or way left. One veteran Tour caddie explained the shot best: "Only the Devil knew where it would end up."

Tiger's tee shot on the 19th hole yesterday, which went way right and ended up in a thorny desert bush looked a lot like the shot that spawned the original Devil Ball nickname. If Tiger doesn't get the latest iteration of his swing and his confidence up and running quickly, he just might find himself with the most undesirable handle on Tour.

Ian Poulter challenges Tiger to consolation match

Known as much for his sartorial splendor and tweeting as his golf game, cheeky Englishman Ian Poulter posted one of his greatest tweets yet after losing his first round match yesterday to Stewart Cink:

“Maybe I should give @Tigerwoods a call and see if we can have game this weekend,”  “We could have our own Matchplay. #Nothingbettertodo.”

As far as we know, Tiger hasn't responded to Poulter's challenge, but you can bet more than a few golf fans would be interested in seeing the two tabloid titans battle it out on the golf course.

Random fact: With his first round loss at the Accenture Match Play Championship, Tiger Woods could become the eighth-ranked player in the world.

February 23, 2010

Daily Flogging: Ian Poulter and Paul Casey lead golf's English lesson

Posted at 10:02 AM by Gary Van Sickle

England swings. Not like a pendulum do, as the long-ago popular song suggests in its grammatically challenged way. Like elite golfers do.

Scotland is supposed to be the home of golf, but right now England is churning out world-class golfers while Scotland is still a golfer's dream travel destination. Colin Montgomerie was Scotland's last elite player, and he's done as a world-class competitor, which is why he agreed to be Ryder Cup captain for Europe this year.

The world's top 64 players convened in Tucson last week for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, minus Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Nine of the attendees were English, or as England's Lee Westwood pointed out, "Fifteen percent of the field is English." It's an interesting phenomenon that has managed to sneak up on the world, as Lawrence Donegan writes in the Guardian:

In the locker rooms of professional golf, or at least those corners where the Englishmen gather, the national fascination with Andy Murray and his quest to win a grand slam tennis tournament is an occasional conversation topic. There is support for the Scot, and also admiration for his athletic abilities. But as much as anything there is bemusement that the efforts of one great tennis player garner so much attention from media and public while the efforts of an entire generation of English golfers appear to pass the country by.

"Sometimes people don't appreciate how good English golf is at the minute and it probably doesn't get the credit it deserves," Lee Westwood said. "They highlight players in other sports where we have one in the top 100. In golf they get overlooked and I don't think we should."

The Match Play turned into the All-England final as Ian Poulter defeated Paul Casey. Poulter rose to fifth in the world ranking.

From John Hopkins in the Times:

Two years ago they laughed when Ian Poulter, ranked No 22 in the world at the time, said that when he played to his full potential it would be just him and Tiger, the world No 1. The fanciful mutterings of a peacock, they thought, looking at Poulter’s exotic wardrobe. Ha, ha, ha. Well, nobody’s laughing now... Not now that he has moved to No 5 in the world, one place behind Lee Westwood and one ahead of Paul Casey, his fellow Englishmen. Not now that the absent Woods is losing world-ranking points, allowing his rivals to close on him.

Besides the obvious stars, there are players such as Oliver Wilson, who did well in the last Ryder Cup; Ross Fisher, who has contended in several majors; Luke Donald, on the rebound after battling wrist problems; and Ross McGowan, who upset top-seeded Steve Stricker in the Match Play's opening round. Westwood, Poulter and Casey are Nos. 4-5-6 in the world rankings. Fisher is 21, Donald is 23 and Wilson is 38. It wasn't so long ago that Westwood was the only Englishman ranked in the top 100. So what's going on in England?

From Donegan:

If British ­tennis were similarly endowed, the Davis Cup might be a permanent fixture in the LTA's trophy room and Andy Murray might not be so encumbered with the entire weight of a nation's expectations.

"I am not really sure," Poulter said. "I just think that there's been a lot of great talent in England for such a long time. And it's so nice to see guys actually deliver on the golf course. We've been waiting for a long time."

Poulter himself is the perfect illustration of why it is so difficult to pin down a definitive explanation for the rise of English golf. He came up through the ranks of assistant club professionals, turning pro with a handicap of three and spending his formative years giving lessons to kids and selling Mars Bars in the clubhouse shop.

Of course, Scotland will be excused for not cheering the rise of English golfers as the countries are natural rivals. Martin Dempster in the Scotsman:

If watching English success on a golf course sticks in your throat, then this could be the time for you to join you-know-who by taking an indefinite break from the game. Ian Poulter's splendid success in the WGC Accenture World Match Play Championship, after all, could just be the start of a golden year for our neighbours south of the Border.

It's 14 years since an Englishman last won a major--Nick Faldo's sixth such success coming in the 1996 Masters, four years after he landed the last of his three Open Championship wins at Muirfield--but don't expect great odds from any bookmaker about Poulter at the Masters.

English golf is riding on the crest of a wave at the moment, Westwood's win in the Race to Dubai last year having now been followed by Poulter's feat...

To many, Poulter has been a bit of a laughing stock since he arrived on the scene--he's hardly done himself any favours with his outrageous clothing, has he?--and certainly had everyone rolling about when, in an interview with one of Britain's top-selling golf magazines two years ago, was quoted as saying, "I know I haven't played to my full potential and when that happens, it will be just me and Tiger."

According to Poulter, that comment had been taken out of context, yet, judging by the way he has undoubtedly progressed over the last few years, the Florida-based player may well be destined to have the last laugh.

What he lacks in natural talent, however, is made up in terms of desire and determination.

The only explanation for England's rise, other than the inspiration provided in the 1980s and '90s by Faldo, was offered by Peter McEvoy, a former Walker Cup captain, quoted by Donegan:

"About 10 to 15 years ago English golf really did get its act together. Believe it or not a lot of blazered people, who are often ridiculed, singled out good young players. I really think finding them early and putting them into competitive situations early helped a lot of these guys. For instance, 10 years ago Luke Donald was the best ­amateur golfer in the world and he was beating all-comers. Paul Casey was another great young amateur who did very well. In my experience, if you are beating guys from other countries when you are 20, then the chances are that you will still be beating them when you are 35."

February 17, 2010

Daily Flogging: Justin Rose, out of top 64, sits out Match Play and faces uncertainty

Posted at 9:45 AM by Gary Van Sickle

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson aren't the only players skipping the Accenture World Match Play Championship this week. So, too, is Justin Rose, seeded seventh two years ago. Rose, the 29-year-old Englishman who has failed to live up to his great potential, simply played his way out of the top 64 in the world rankings.

Mark Garrod of the Press Association focused on Rose, now based in Florida, and how his successful Ryder Cup debut two year ago didn't vault him to greater heights.

"I can't even worry about the Ryder Cup right now," he added. "That's probably not what Monty (captain Colin Montgomerie) wants to hear, but not worrying about it is giving myself the best chance to make it. If I win two or three tournaments here in the States I'm going to be in the Ryder Cup. Easier said than done of course... But right now my priorities are different. Getting back to playing good golf and getting back to winning, that's my focus. We all know that good golf takes care of everything else."

Another problem Rose faces is getting in his minimum of 12 appearances in European tour events to retain his membership and be eligible for the Ryder Cup. He played in 14 last year, including four majors and three WGC events. He's not going to get all seven of those appearances again, so he'll have to refigure his playing schedule.

"If you are playing well and are in the right events it's a non-issue, but if you start falling out of the top 50 it leaves you in a very precarious situation in terms of fulfilling requirements on both Tours," he said. "I feel good about my game and feel close. I'm really doing my best not to worry about my ranking right now because I don't feel it reflects how well I am playing or the player I am. I'm just focusing on the process and what I know I can control."

It is a sobering thought for him, though, that just 20 months on from being Europe's highest-ranked player, he not only has 26 ahead of him now, but also nine fellow Englishmen--Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Ian Poulter, Ross Fisher, Luke Donald, Oliver Wilson, Simon Dyson, Ross McGowan and Chris Wood.

February 16, 2010

Daily Flogging: Rory McIlroy paws at success

Posted at 11:25 AM by Gary Van Sickle

More reasons to like Rory McIlroy, the down-to-earth Northern Ireland phenom, in this highlight from his Monday press conference in Tucson at the Accenture World Match Play Championship:

Q: How has your life changed?

Rory: I don't know. I've gotten two new dogs. (Laughter)

Of course, the 20-year-old could've mentioned his two new cars instead--a 193-mph Ferrari 340 F1 that he picked up last summer in Birmingham, England, and drove back to his hometown of Holywood, Northern Ireland, or his new Audi RS6, which can top 150 mph. But those answers wouldn't have been nearly as cute.

Ryan Finely of the Arizona Daily Star chronicled a few of the things that are different since last year's World Match Play, when McIlroy made his American debut:

• Played in 10 PGA Tour events, finishing in the top 10 twice and top 25 six times.

• Signed an endorsement contract with Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts.

• Shot an Internet video--a short film, really--for Jumeirah that shows him exiting a Bentley, golf club in hand, and flying over Dubai in a massive hot-air balloon.

• Become a household name on a PGA Tour desperate to find the next Tiger Woods.

"I mean, I'd like to think that I haven't changed at all," McIlroy said.

McIlroy, whose back has been bothering him of late, will tee off against Kevin Na on Wednesday in a first-round match.

January 27, 2010

Mickelson: We've had 'limited communication' with 'Woods family'

Posted at 2:35 PM by Cameron Morfit

SAN DIEGO -- Phil Mickelson addressed a standing-room only crowd of about 60 journalists at his press conference at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines on Wednesday, and before taking questions made a prepared statement to address several pressing issues.Jan27_mickelson_600x400

"The first is obviously the Tiger, uh, topic," Mickelson said. "The game of golf needs him to come back. I mean it's important for him to come back and be a part of the sport, but right now he's got a lot more important things going on in his life. And Amy and I are good friends with both Tiger and Elin and we care deeply about how this turns out, but I'm going to choose not to talk about it publicly anymore, and I appreciate you guys' understanding on that."

Asked why he, like others, has been reluctant to talk about Woods, Mickelson responded:

"Well, again, I don't want to talk about it publicly for the reason that we're friends and we have a personal relationship, and I just don't feel--I feel like it's a violation of our trust and our relationship."

Mickelson did allow that he and his wife, Amy, have had "limited communication" with the Woods family, although "not necessary saying with who in the family."

Asked to comment on the coverage of the Woods scandal, Mickelson threw it back to his questioners.

Continue reading "Mickelson: We've had 'limited communication' with 'Woods family'" »

February 20, 2009

Tiger Woods's Road to the WGC-Accenture Match Play Final

Posted at 1:35 PM by David Dusek

So, Tiger Woods has announced that he will be making his comeback in Tucson next week at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, where 64 players will be competing for a $1.4 million first prize.

The brackets will not be officially released until Sunday at 7 p.m. Eastern, but we know that Tiger is the No. 1 seed. We also know that the top 64 players in World Ranking have committed to play the event. I couldn't help but try to map out Tiger's road to the final. Here's what would happen if all of the favorites won.

The road to the 36-hole final could be a gauntlet. In the opening round, Woods would face Brendan Jones, the 64th ranked player in the world, who would instantly become the answer to a trivia question. If Woods defeated Jones, a 33-year-old Australian, he would move on to face Tim Clark, the 32nd seed. Clark is  a crafty South African who has played on two Presidents Cup teams. In December, he won the Australian Open.

Things would get very interesting in the third round, where Woods could face 19-year-old Rory McIllory, the 16th seed. The teen from Northern Ireland won this season in Dubai and will be playing as a professional for the first time in the United States. I can just imagine Tiger, two wins already in hand, staring down McIllory on the first tee. Welcome to the show, kid.

In the quarterfinals on Saturday morning, Woods would face eighth-seeded Geoff Ogilvy. The Aussie won the Mercedes-Benz Championship in January, and this event in 2006. In the afternoon, Woods would face fourth-seeded Vijay Singh, who won last season's Barclays and Deutsche Bank championships en route to the FedEx Cup.

After all that, Woods would face Sergio Garcia, the No. 2 seed, in a 36-hole final. Garcia won last season's Players Championship and the European Tour's HSBC Champions in November.

Golf's television ratings have been falling as fast as the stock market, but if that series of matches becomes reality, it would be NBC's dream come true. Golf fans' too.





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