Tag Archives: wgc

Tiger Returns

Tiger Woods returns to the PGA Tour today and tees off at 2:02p. I have been looking forward to his return for months. The PGA Tour is just not the same without him – either because he draws interest or people just want to be interested in him.

From what I’ve seen and heard on the Golf Chanel and ESPN, it looks like he’s ready. The commentators are professing that they’ll be surprised if Woods doesn’t win. I feel the same way. Last time he took a break to fix the knee, he won… The 2008 U.S. Open! A couple years before that, when he took time to drain the knee, he returned and won at Torrey Pines.

The choice to return in a match play tournament was a wise one. Match play is a different beast than stroke play. Unlike stroke play, match play allows you to have a bad hole and not have to dig your way out of it stroke by stroke. If Tiger is at all inconsistent, he’ll appreciate the chance to throw away a few holes. Further, unlike stroke play, match play is more emotional. Tiger can better scrap out a win against a feisty opponent. Finally, if Woods is ousted early he’ll be disappointed, but no to the degree of a missed cut.

There’s a lot to watch for today at the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship. And when it’s done we’ll still get to look forward to Tiger’s stroke play debut. Bam. Bam. Boom!

My bracket for this tournament.

I Picked the Winner

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.

High Output for Woods

One of the most impressive statistics in golf is that Tiger Woods has led the PGA Tour World Money List seven of the last ten years by playing fewer events than the runner up in every year except 1999. In other words, he’s winning more money than any other professional golfer while playing in fewer tournaments. In some years, he’s playing in as many as nine fewer tournaments. And this year, while not yet over, Woods leads the money list having played in just fifteen tournaments and will likely finish at the top having played in 17 tournaments to the runner-ups 22 events.

As a side note, this year Woods total of 17 events will be the fewest number of tournaments he has played during a full season since joining the PGA Tour in 1996.

The point where this graph jumps above $6 Million is 1999, the year the World Golf Championship events were introduced. Big money. Greg Norman campaigned for world events similar to the WGC for years. I’m not sure it would have ever happened if Woods had not joined the tour. It’s not a coincidence that the leading money winner now earns in excess of five times what they earned ten years ago.

(Woods was the money leader in the years the points coincide.)

Here, we see that no one has won the money list by playing in fewer tournaments than Woods.

(Woods was the money leader in the years the points coincide.)

Congrats, Lefty!

Phil Mickelson won the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston by out-dueling Tiger Woods, Brett Wetterich, and Aaron Oberholser. The Monday finish was a unique holiday flare that highlighted the FedEx Cup, the PGA Tour’s new season ending playoff.

After two weeks, Phil Mickelson is now leading FedEx Cup points with 108,613. Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods are second and third. Next week’s BMW Championship at Cog Hill in Chicago, IL will host the top seventy players according to the FedEx Cup standings. And the week after that The Tour Championship in Atlanta, GA will produce the winner of the playoffs from a 30-man field.

The FedEx Cup is proving to be more exciting that expected. The big name players have stepped up, with the exception of Tiger Woods skipping the first event. Today’s duel between Tiger and Phil went a long way towards validating the new format – and we’re only halfway through. As golf fans become more accustomed to the FedEx Cup points system, it will gain more followers. While the Cup doesn’t have the thrill of single elimination match play, the fact that there is a $10 million annuity for the FedEx Cup points winner is bigger than any one of the $7 million purses for the individual tournaments.