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2011 Match Play This And That

Luke Donald's match play performance astounds the more you read about it and consider that people actually think this is a format that rarely identifies a worthy champion.

Mike McCallister at

Donald played 89 holes during his six matches this week. He never trailed at any time. He never had to play the 18th hole -- and he only had to play the 17th once. He produced 32 birdies, seven more than anybody else. He was rarely threatened. He rarely faced moments of true adversity.

Steve DiMeglio notes that it was the fewest number of holes a champion has had to play in the event and shares this from Donald:

"It's been a long time since I've won in the U.S. To beat the top 63 players in the world is very gratifying," Donald said. "It's been an amazing week. I had a lot of good things happen, made a bunch of birdies, never trailed. Kind of one of those weeks where a lot of things went my way."

Rex Hoggard at

The way Donald performed at the year’s first World Golf Championship, he could have collected two Tour titles. For the week he birdied 32 of 89 holes, hit 74 percent of his greens in regulation, 66 percent of his fairways and one-putted a staggering 46 times. By any measure, a commanding performance.

Hoggard also reports on the  morning snowfall tally: one inch.

Doug Ferguson on the mid-round sleet:

The snow had melted when they teed off, although dark clouds on the horizon loomed. Sleet began falling when the championship match reached the third green, and play was stopped when sleet covered the fourth fairway.

"Do we have to keep playing?" Kaymer asked chief referee Mark Russell.

Kaymer, who purchased a snood to wear around his neck, pulled it up over his mouth and looked like a real Western gunslinger (except for the pattern of flies on fish hooks). Donald took out his blue-and-white umbrella and crouched beneath it.

After about 10 minutes, when the fairways turned from white back to green, play resumed.

Rich Lerner says it's not just about Donald, but all of Europe's last year:

Let’s review the staggering 12-month European run: Ian Poulter defeats Paul Casey in an all-England final at last year’s Accenture Match Play; Graeme McDowell wins the U.S. Open; Kaymer the PGA Championship; Europe wins the Ryder Cup; Lee Westwood ascends to No. 1; and again, at this year’s Match Play, we get another all-European final with Donald and Kaymer, with Kaymer becoming the new No. 1, and with three Euros taking up the next three world ranking spots. Thorough.

Paul Mahoney shared this first tee humor from the Commish:

PGA Tour chief Tim Finchem was waiting to greet the European finalists on the first tee. He did his best to put on a brave face. "If only I had a nickel for everyone that googled 'snood'," Finchem whispered in reference to Kaymer's fly-fishing scarf.

And this from the SI roundtable:

Shipnuck: So much happens during Match Play week that it's tough to recall some of the fun stuff. What's your favorite moment of the week? I'll go with Paul Casey's stink-eye to Jason Day when forced to putt-out an 18-inch putt. Second choice is watching Fowler give Phil the back of the hairbrush. Too bad Rickie lost the next day — that coulda been a defining performance.

Lipsey: Tiger's drive into the abyss on the first extra hole against Bjorn and his shockingly wobbly post-match interview.

Mike Walker, senior editor, Golf Magazine: I vote for Mark Wilson's rally from two down with three to play to beat Dustin Johnson. Also, it was nice to see Y.E. Yang show signs of life.

Herre: I was talking about this with Gary — whose Match Play story will appear in this week's first-ever PGA Tour Confidential standalone issue of SIGOLF+ — earlier today: Once you get to Saturday's telecast, the Match Play showcases one thing magnificently, and that's how SLOW some of these guys play. Geesh, hit the ball already!

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Reader Comments (18)

Is there any video of Tiger's post round interview? It seems to be the only thing that was Tiger related but was not replayed.
02.27.2011 | Unregistered CommenterD.
Hey Rich Lerner,,,,the world belongs to the rest of the world and Americans are just living in it.
02.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMulligan
Of course it was the fewest holes ever played be a champion ... they reduced the final from 36 to 18.
02.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterFWIW

I was wondering if anyone else noticed.
02.28.2011 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
This tournament is the boring-est (most boring?) weekend of the year! too bad we couldn't see the first rounds on the weekend where they actually have golf on TV.
02.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKen
Kudos to FWIW on the reduced holes point. As for Luke's tournament, to me, it was a classic case of how to play matches: Get the ball in the fairway, hit the approach close, get the ball closer to the hole than your opponent, never miss the gimmes, get on top early, keep pressure on your opponent, etc. Congrats to Luke who really deserved this one--he has been a fine player for a long time, but especially in matches. By the way, I thought that Johnny Miller was right on when he said at the beginning of Sunday's broadcast that Luke was going to win.
02.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSmitty
One minor note on the course that I didn't pick up until yesterday: I don't see why some fairways needed drains when they were already on the side of a hill in the desert.
02.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJim S
Ken, they showed all of the rounds on 'TV' as you say. All the golf on Wed, Thurs and Friday was shown on The Golf Channel, live and then repeated during prime time at night. You could watch as much golf as anyone would ever want to see and have the great commentary and analysis of Nick Faldo, who for my money is so superior to Johnny Miller, it's not even close.
02.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
There's probably a better way to produce Match Play television. Tape delay comes to mind, as editing out the down time might produce a better product.
02.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Clayman

Couldn't agree more. The tournament did "identify" the best player, but it was horrific television on Sunday. Borrrrrrrrrring.
02.28.2011 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
Four golfers playing 18 holes and we still can not get every shot by every golfer on screen. Same with Semi-finals, eight golfers and still do not see every shot. God awful way to show golf. One thirty minute streach I saw two chip shots, two putts and one full shot. How bad is that?
02.28.2011 | Unregistered Commenterrmppia
Four golfers playing 18 holes and we still can not get every shot by every golfer on screen. Same with Semi-finals, eight golfers and still do not see every shot. God awful way to show golf. One thirty minute streach I saw two chip shots, two putts and one full shot. How bad is that?
02.28.2011 | Unregistered Commenterrmppia
Herre has it right. When there are only a few guys out there, it's hard to conceal all of the slow play.

On a related note, it was cool at first to use cameras and mics to get an 'inside look' at the player/caddie interplay. Now, it's just become really tedious. Are you guys really discussing this wedge shot? Please, just shut up and hit the ball. My mental shot clock is putting you turkeys on notice.

Imagine if we could heckle these guys like they do in other sports. Slow play would disappear really, really quickly.
02.28.2011 | Unregistered Commenterdsl
Great idea dsi. I can see a group chant, Hey batter, hey batter, hey batter, batter, batter, ssswwwwwing batter.
02.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterPapa Bing
Rmppia: I've been trying to count how many cameras they have at these events, and it always seems like they have about 6 total. I have the expectation that every hole has several cameras so the producer can always move the broadcast where the most interesting action is, but that seems to be far from the truth. Instead, we get a camera with the lead group and maybe one or two other cameras on that particular hole. If something interesting happens on a different hole, that's usually seen through a single camera angle on tape delay. This is something that seems very 1960s about the broadcasts.
02.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJim S
A followup: I think I was a bit overdramatic in the above post, but still, I expect 6 cameras on every hole (even if they are completely static), so I'm always disappointed in every broadcast for its myopic focus on just one or two locations at a time.
02.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJim S
Tape delay would be the way to show this on TV. It's boring television. And it's shameful that the kuchar Watson match was basically ignored. Horrible job. And Accenture is advertising that they provide outsourcing? Is this is a good a thing?
02.28.2011 | Unregistered CommenterVwgolfer
@Papa Bing: See, now there's a good idea.

Plus, think about all the crap you'd love to shout when you get some slow boneheads in front of you. Then, just jot those down and head out to the local tour stop. Man, that would be some great stress relief.
02.28.2011 | Unregistered Commenterdsl

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