I was scared watching the first round of the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship. Tiger Woods looked like he was going to confuse his number one world ranking with the timing of his exit – an upsetting first-round loss to the lowest ranked player in the tournament. But, when you’re a maker of golf history, as Tiger Woods tends to be, you don’t confuse such things. Instead you tease those with lesser ability. You lure the television audience into thinking they’re seeing a historical upset, then just before it’s too late you turn it on. You light it up. You blind them with your ability.
That’s just what Tiger Woods did in his first round match against the formidable J.B. Holmes. Then he beat Aaron Oberholser 3 and 2, took two extra holes to squeak past another Aaron (Baddeley), defeated K.J. Choi 3 and 2, and disposed of the defending champion Henrik Stenson 2-up. All of the matches were close. All of the opponents gave it their best — and came up short. Two had already won on tour this year, an accomplishment possible only when Tiger Woods is not in the field.
The final match was over as soon as it started. When I woke up Sunday morning, Tiger was already two up and they’d only played four holes. The lead would only grow throughout the day until the point where Stewart Cink, eight down with seven holes to play, gave Tiger Woods a conciliatory fist-bump when Tiger’s birdie putt to tie Cink’s lipped out. Tiger closed out the match 8 and 7 on the next hole. It was the largest margin of victory in the history of the event. Only fitting that the record was set by Tiger.
With 63 PGA Tour victories, Woods has now surpassed Arnold Palmer to take fourth place alone. He’s chasing Sam Snead with 82, Jack Nicklaus with 73, and Ben Hogan with 64.
Gary Player wants the Presidents Cup to be played around the world.
We should be going into China. We should be going into India and I think we should be going into Eastern Europe. It would be my dream to see that.
Jack Nicklaus wants similar things, but is realistic.
Having traveled to China this past summer, I’m not sure I would want a Presidents Cup to be played there. The top players in the world would be less likely to travel to China. It is not a developed country. It is a developing country, which means there are still a lot of kinks to work out. If the Olympics go smoothly in Beijing next summer, perhaps my views on China hosting other sporting events will change. But it seems the PGA Tour (etc.) would have to reach for a reason to take the Presidents Cup to China or India. There are no Chinese or Indian members on the International team, so no one country is being ignored by the Australia-South Africa-Canada approach to the Presidents Cup. Further, I don’t think the Presidents Cup would play well in China or India for media and promotion reasons. Beneath the battle for the Cup is a concern for the bottom line, and marketing a golf event in China to a U.S. audience is a sure way to ensure the smallest possibly home-town crowd ever. China isn’t a country you just fly to. You basically have to get invited, and for a good reason.
I agree with Nicklaus that the Presidents Cup isn’t ready to be played in China, India, or, to a lesser extent, Easter Europe. Maybe once it establishes a more solid foundation with golf fans and the question of, “Are the players Cupped out?,” falls by the wayside should taking the Cup “abroad” be reconsidered.
Charles Howell III, a.k.a. Chucky Three Sticks, has not played well the past few days, going 1-2 in his matches. Funny quote from the New York Times:
It was the first United States team meeting at the Deutsche Bank Championship, and Howell was sitting at a table with Zach Johnson, Hunter Mahan and David Toms when Nicklaus walked into the room.
[Nicklaus] went around and said, “Zach, great job winning the Masters, green jacket, that’s fantastic, that’s awesome…David, another solid season, you are another steady, steady player. Hunter, you’ve really come along here lately, this is fantastic.”
Then he looked over at Howell, who has not finished in the top 10 since March.
“Charles, you need a lesson.”(link)
I’ve come across a lot of interesting golf stories today, so I’m posting them in a links post. Here we go:
Lots of caddies are wearing and being sponsored by Crocs, the hideous floating footwear that is really popular in Boston (personal observation).
In Golf We Trust takes a look at players who credit God for their on-course abilities.
Golf World says to watch the Presidents Cup closely or wait until January. Apparently the Fall Series isn’t that big of a draw. Duh.
ESPN provides the most poorly formatted Presidents Cup first-day line up.
Golf Digest says Nicklaus wants Woods to play Weir, but finding a partner for Woods in team matches is more difficult.
Euro-drama between Nick Faldo and some guy named Paul McGinley. Nick is captain for the GB & I team for the Seve Trophy and he’s also the 2008 Ryder Cup captain. Nick didn’t pick Paul for this years Seve Trophy, so Paul decided to quit as Nick’s assistant in order to “focus on his play for the Ryder Cup.” Uh huh, sure. (Via Waggle Room)
The Trilby Tour sounds like something an English tailor would organize. Designer clothes are supplied to all of the players.