WGC Accenture Match Play Second Round Thoughts

PhotobucketRory McIlroy is, I’m sure, the highest seed left (I can’t tell with the crazy brackets each showing a number one). He’ll face The Mechanic—Miguel Angel Jimenez—tomorrow. Now THAT should be a match.

Matt Kuchar looked pretty good with his win over Bubba Watson. The result was, however, a rerun of last year when Kuchar defeated Watson in the consolation match.

Tiger is a very good tour player. Nothing more at this point. The last time he made it to the third round was 2008.

More than anything, I am astonished at the decline of Tiger’s putting. He’s missing putts right now that a few years ago he could have made with his eyes closed. Heck, he’s missing putts I don’t miss. A two and a half footer at Pebble? Seriously? And that last putt at the Match Play was so easy that Watney was stunned after the round. That’s a putt Tiger doesn’t miss, he said.

Even more interesting to me is that Tiger went one down at the tenth and never fought back. I would have expected more back and forth.

Watney is one tough customer. It can’t have been easy playing Tiger, with all the expectations. Still, as I’ve said before, YE Yang ate Tiger’s Mojo at the PGA.He faces Lee Westwood on Friday. Unfortunately for Westwood, Watney has bounced him out of Match Play each of the last two years.

I really thought Tiger was going to take Nick into extra holes when that ball landed in the hospitality tent. Watney got a break on the drop. I was hoping to see him hit a ball through the door ala Tin Cup.

David Toms put up a good fight here, but Kaymer is a heckuva match player. Remember the desperado bandana he wore over his face last year in the cold?

Dustin Johnson continues to overpower his opponents. This time, he blew it past Francesco Molinari for a 7 and 5 victory. If he can keep his head in the game, he’s got a chance in this. In fact, right now, I think he has to be a favorite.

John Senden has been in the lead or all square through every match this week. He’s not a name you often hear, but his 6 and 5 victory over Jason Day was a statement.

Hunter Mahan looks exactly like one of my oldest son’s friends, whose last name is Hunter. They sound alike, too.

You have to be impressed with Mahan’s 5 and 3 victory. He birdied six of the first eight, bogeyed nine and ten, then went on to win on the 15th.

The tightest match might have been the one we saw the least of: Steve Stricker vs Louis Oosthuizen. It was halfway over by the time television coverage kicked in.

Friday has some interesting matches. In my own order of interest:

Rory McIlroy vs Miguel Angel Jimenez. Jimenez is the oldest player in the field, but is one of six players who has yet to trail in a match.

Hunter Mahan vs Steve Stricker. This one went to 20 holes in 2008 before Stricker prevailed.

Lee Westwood vs Nick Watney. Watney won over Westwood 2 and 1 in 2010 and 1 up in 2011.

Martin Kaymer vs Matt Kuchar. Both went to the final four last year.

Martin Laird vs Paul Lawrie. This is the first time two Scots have made the Sweet Sixteen.

John Senden vs Sang Moon Bae. If Bae pulls it out, he’ll be the first rookie to win.

Some more random facts:

Of the 11 first-time participants at the 2012 Accenture Match Play Championship, only four came out on top on Wednesday and only Sang-Moon Bae survived round two. Geoff Ogilvy is the only player (other than Jeff Maggert in the first event in 1999) who won the Accenture Match Play Championship in his first start (2006).

No matches went extra holes in round two, the first time that has happened in the second round since 2002.

There were 24 players under the age of 30 in the Accenture Match Play Championship field, the most in tournament history, bettering the record of 23 previously set in 2010 and 2011. The youngest winner in Accenture Match Play Championship history is Tiger Woods, who was 27 years, 2 months, 2 days old when he won in 2003. The youngest winner of a World Golf Championships event is Tiger Woods, who was 23 years, 7 months and 30 days old when he won the 1999 Bridgestone Invitational.

Stricker could become the oldest winner of the Accenture Match Play Championship on Sunday, bettering the current record held by David Toms, who was 38 years, 1 month, 23 days old when he won this event in 2005. Stricker would be just shy of the record of oldest World Golf Championships winner, a mark held by Vijay Singh, who was 45 years, 5 months and 12 days old when he won the 2008 Bridgestone Invitational.

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