The quarterfinals set up some very interesting matches tomorrow morning. The highlight surely will be Rory McIlroy vs Lee Westwood. Either of those men will become the World #1 if they win out. The television producers have to be ecstatic. No matter what happens in the semis, the finals will have a matchup that features a player gunning for the title.
The setup also ensures that an American reaches the finals for the first time since 2008 (Tiger, who else?). Not that it matters that much to me. The mainstream golf media, on the other hand, seems to think it does. A typical columnist’s lede says while there are two Americans in the finals, it is the Europeans who have all the starpower. I acknowledge that Rory is in a class of his own right now with the US Open title. But is Lee Westwood really a bigger star than Hunter Mahan? Not to my mind. While it is true that Lee once was World #1, I recall a great deal of whining at the time about how he didn’t really deserve it.
At any rate, I’m hoping for a Rory McIlroy – Hunter Mahan matchup.
The quarterfinal matches as a whole were less than compelling. This apparently is the first time in 14 years that none of the semifinals reached the 17th hole.
McIlroy put away Sang-Moon Bae 3 and 2. Westwood finished off Martin Laird in the same fashion. Neither match was particularly interesting.
Hunter Mahan finshed off Matt Kuchar 6 and 5 in the shortest quarterfinal match ever.Kuchar, frankly, looked lost.
Mark Wilson beat Peter Hanson 4 and 3. He’s starting to look like a dark horse to win this.
Much of the mainstream golf media seems to think that it is McIlroy’s time. I’m not so sure it isn’t Westwood’s. He’s looked very solid, and McIlroy has had a harder time putting people away. Bae Sang Moon hung on longer than he needed to, as did Jimenez.
I caught this Rory McIlroy tweet earlier:
Happy with how my game has progressed since Wednesday Will need to step it up another notch against Lee 2mrw morning!
The highest-ranked player to survive the quarterfinals: Rory McIlroy (No. 2)
The lowest-ranked player to survive the quarterfinals: Mark Wilson (No. 42)
The lowest ranked player ever to win the Championship: No. 62, Kevin Sutherland, 2002
Player, W-L , Years Entered, Best Previous Finish
Hunter Mahan, 8-4, 5 , (2008-2012), , T9 (2011)
Lee Westwood 11-11 , 12 , (1999-2000, 2002, 2004-2012), T17 (seven times)
Mark Wilson, 5-1, 2, (2011-2012), T17 (2011)
Rory McIlroy, 9-3, 4, (2009-2012), T5 (2009)
If either Mahan or Wilson go on to win the Accenture Match Play Championship, it’ll be the first time Americans have won the first eight events on the PGA TOUR schedule since 2001,