Lost in all the Tiger-Gate Media Event controversy was all the golf played yesterday. How’s this for irony: because Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson opted out of The Match Play Ross McGowan got in as the 64th seed. With Woods, the number one seed gone, Steve Stricker became the number one. McGowan gets to play Stricker and beats the top seed in the tournament in nineteen holes. McGowan goes from sitting on his couch to cashing a nice check and getting a little publicity.
There were plenty of great matches and a few more surprises: Paddy loses to Jeev Milka…Matt Kuchar takes out underachieving Anthony Kim…Defending Champ Geoff Ogilvy beats Alexander Noren in a lopsided 7 and 5 win… Proving that the long ball isn’t everything Tim Clark took out Vijay and Mike Weir humbled Alvaro Quiros…Brian Gay a 14 seed beat Kenny Perry a 3 seed…Ross Fisher loses to Thongcha Jaidee (Who?)…and both Molinari brothers are sent packing.
Things get more interesting in the second round today: Can McGowan keep it up against Ryo Ishikawa?…Ian Poulter vs Adam Scott looks interesting…Martin Kaymer vs Tim Clark, could one of these two win their first PGA tournament?…Rory vs Oliver Wilson, this tournament is deep in Euro talent…Allenby against Donald, two friends trying to knock each other out…Furyk vs Schwartzel, could another number one go down…a very hot Lee Westwood looks to send Nick Watney home…Ernie Els and Retief Goose tee off in a battle of truly experienced and classy golfers…Can Oqilvy defend? He’ll have to beat Camilo if he does. It will be interesting….The Match Play always is.
On the other side of the world the women of The LPGA finally kicked off their 2010 season at The Honda PTT LPGA Thailand and there are many familiar names at the top of the leader board. Tour stalwart Suzann Pettersen and sophomore MJ Hur share the lead at -6. All-American girl Stacy Lewis, long bomber Brittany Linicome, Tour cornerstones Cristie Kerr and Angela Stanford and Yani Tseng are all two back of the lead. Tour headliners Paula Creamer and Lorena Ochoa are tied with four others three strokes off the lead. This is what the LPGA needs at the start: big name players staying in contention.
Let’s not forget about The Mayakoba Classic in Mexico today. Our favorite comeback story of the year tees it up today, no it’s not John Daly, it’s David Duval. It will be interesting to see if Double D can keep it going from last week. If Duval does win I’m sure he’ll appreciate it but it will only feed his desire to win a regular full field event or maybe even a major. Big John is in the field and let’s hope he can make the cut and not meltdown again. Erik Compton makes his 2010 debut on the PGA Tour after playing some on The European Tour. Chris DiMarco continues his struggle to regain his game that has been hampered by multiple injuries. The Big Break is well represented as James Nitties and Matt Every are both in the field. This is a good opportunity for a player to break through and get his first win. Some pundits knock these “opposite events” but with all the great golfers out there having a place to play while the elite of the world compete elsewhere gives them a chance to prove themselves, whether it is for the first time or to re-establish their games.