by Jeff Skinner
Each year when The Accenture Match Play Championship rolls around we hear cries for more match play formats on the PGA Tour. Match play is a different game all together and today’s results showed just that. It’s unpredictable and exciting and a network executive’s nightmare.
For real golf fans the first day of The Match Play is about as exciting a day as there is on tour. For the suits at The Golf Channel, PGA Tour and NBC it’s torture.
The two biggest draws in golf were sent packing as Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods both were upset in the first round. Sixteenth seed Shane Lowry took down his pal Rory 1 up and fellow sixteenth seed Charles Howell III knocked out his buddy Tiger 2 & 1.
Rory showed some rust from his long layoff but still managed to get to 2 up after five. But then he cooled off as Lowry was chipping in from all over to steal the lead and hold on for the win.
Woods and Howell played a great, hard fought match without a bogey between them. But Woods never had the lead and Howell just made more quality shots than Woods.
The upsets didn’t stop with two number one seeds. Red hot Charl Schwartzel (3) was throttled by the hotter Russell Henley (14). Fifteenth seed Tim Clark won the battle of the broomsticks as he took down second seed Adam Scott. Keegan Bradley (4) lost to Marcus Fraser (13) and Dustin Johnson (4) also lost to a 13th seed in Alexander Noren.
While the match play is thrilling for the fans, losing the top draws in golf isn’t great for the ratings on the weekend and that’s why we don’t see more of match play.
There are still plenty of excellent players left in the field but the casual fan has just left the building. That’s a shame because these guys put on a really good show and there’s plenty left to see.