Match Play Championship Recap
February 24, 2014
By Dan Daly
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“It was one of the craziest days in golf history.”
– Kelly Tilghman immediately following coverage.
That might be a little exaggerated…but WOW, if that was the Match Play Championship finale at Dove Mountain it was Breaking Bad finale good. It definitely was one of the most entertaining finishes to a golf tournament I can ever remember.
Jason Day may have his name on the trophy but Victor Dubuisson “won” the Accenture Match Play Championship. I’m a fan. This guy has some serious stones on him…and he’s French. Not only did he beat three Major Champions in a row to get to the finals but the dude was 3-down at the turn and 2-down with two to play before a clutch birdie on 17 and an incredible up and down par on 18 to send it to extra holes. All he did there was hit two of the silliest, most insane, most miraculous, most ridiculous chip shots anyone has ever seen. The shots themselves were stuff of legend but he stood up and jarred the putts to boot. And he did it all at NASCAR speed and there’s nothing I love more than fast golf.
Sure it’s easy to make fun of the hair/facial hair combo he sports but Dubuisson is from Cannes That's how they roll.
And before you throw out the “flash in the pan”; remember, he is the former No. 1 ranked amateur golfer in the world and won the 2009 European Amateur. He’s only 23 and took down Tiger, Rose and Poulter in Turkey last November and is ranked in the top 30 in the World Rankings. In his last four European Tour events, Dubuisson has three top 5’s and a T-20 for a cool $1.93 million.
Jean Van de Velde could have used this guy on 18 at Carnoustie.
So to recap; he’s 23, loaded, silly talented, a short game magician, has serious stones, plays fast, has some questionable facial hair and is French. I’d say life does not suck for Victor Dubisson right now.
As for Jason Day, good for him. Great guy, great talent and finally able to close the deal on a big tournament. Not quite a major but he will get his sooner than later.
Some other quick thoughts on the field before I get to the event itself.
Furyk, another pressure spot late (chip shot on 18 in an all-square match), another complete meltdown. I’m almost to the point where I don’t even find it funny anymore; it’s so sad and predictable.
Fowler, you cut your hair, your shaved your creepy porn ‘stache but my god, please buy a hat that fits your head, not your ears.
Els, I love that guy. He just continues to be awesome the older he gets. Nothing ever seems to deter him.
Spieth, is it just me or does it seem like he has one bad round a tournament and yet still cashes Top 10’s every week? As soon as he eliminates that one round he may never lose another tournament again. Problem in Match Play is that one round sends you home.
Poulter, can we all put the “greatest match play player alive” thing to bed now. After this week that may actually belong to Day or even Graeme McDowell for that matter.
Sergio, even when you try and do the right thing you can’t win. What the f**k where you thinking Sergio? Who concedes a 20 foot par putt to halve a hole? Garcia conceding putt
Sorry but you deserved to lose that match for stupidity alone.
And finally, Boo. When asked how he would prepare for his opening match against Rory, he told Faldo he would loosen up with some beer and red wine the night before. I mean this guy is absolute gold.
As for the tournament itself, I love it. Always have…always will. I get that it doesn’t work well for TV over the weekend for a variety of reasons so it will never be more than once a year but I think match play is the single most entertaining form of golf played. Don’t misunderstand me, I still prefer the Majors when it’s all said and done but for one week a year I think it’s great.
Then I read that commissioner Finchem is considering a format change for the event which I think is a huge mistake. A member of the Player Advisory Council (whatever that is) confirmed this week that the Tour has been looking into a potential change that would include 36-holes of stroke play followed by a cut, to either the top 32 or 16, and match play on the weekend. This would obviously mean at least two rounds from every player, basically ensuring two rounds for the big names.
Finchem went on to say, “The idea that players can come and play a day and be gone has always been something that we kind of looked at and wondered whether another format would be better? We’re going to look at it again, but I wouldn’t assume we’re going to change at this point.”
I hope not, this is a horrible idea. I get why the USGA does this for the US Am, but for this event? Please don’t. You would basically be eliminating the single best part of the entire tournament. The irony (and essence) of this tournament of course being that the best two days are the first two instead of the last two. The final match this year was much more the exception than the rule. Wednesday and Thursday of the Match Play Championship are two of the most fun, exciting days of golf all year long on the PGA tour. If Warren Buffet is willing to offer a billion dollars to anyone that can pick a perfect NCAA bracket he might as well offer ten times that for a perfect WGC bracket. It will never happen, not even remotely close.
If you want the big names around for the weekend, here’s a better idea, tell them to stop losing.
Two Final non-related golf thoughts…
First, to all the people that went onto social media and were “devastated” after the USA Hockey team lost to Canada; you should be banned from all social media for at least a year. Look, I’m all for USA…USA...USA, but let’s not be so dramatic shall we? The fact that 99.9% of you couldn’t even name two people on the team prior to the Olympics starting means that you couldn’t have been that devastated when we lost. Also, we lost to Canada in hockey; that’s like losing to Betty Crocker in a pie making contest, I mean were you really that surprised? We get it, you love America, congratulations, but let’s try and keep it realistic from now on.
Second, to the entire University of North Carolina basketball stadium last Thursday night…are you kidding me? You won to get to 19-7, you had just won your 8th straight ACC game, you beat a team that is 21-6 and you were only a TWO POINT underdog…and you rushed the court like you just won the National Championship? I get that they are your rival but come on North Carolina, you’re better than that.