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2012 WGC Match Play Primer

Even after filling out my bracket (Sergio, I take back all of the times I posted this video) and thinking about some of the excellent first round pairings, I'm having a hard time getting excited about Wednesday's WGC Match Play for the simple reason that is no fault of the good folks in Tucson: a remote desert course lined by cholla just isn't Pebble Beach and Riviera.

Now, predictions in golf are utterly useless. Who knows which player slept poorly? Got yelled at by his wife? Is thinking about firing his agent? Had a slight stomach reaction to the Chipotle he ate at the airport? Or all of the above, plus he secretly hates desert golf more than he lets on and can't wait to get home so he can vegetate in front of his Playstation for two weeks?

That said...

Jason Sobel previews the highlights for Wednesday play.

Jim McCabe and Alex Miceli make their first round predictions.

Randall Mell and Rex Hoggard make their predictions.

Steve Elling highlights eight match play specialists who've had success in the Accenture.

And in the Flashback department…

Here is Greg Hansen's story from last year on 2012 being the final year under contract for Dove Mountain and the likelihood that this is it for Tucson for an event.

And in a deep 2008 Flashback, here is Hansen's story about PGA Tour executives--including Commissioner Finchem--awaiting Jack Nicklaus to make a site visit for a golf course that finished second to last in Golf World's recent PGA Tour player course ranking. Still hard to believe how this one didn't work out. Jack trying to build match play greens, remote desert location, the Commissioner's vision bringing the entire thing together?

More importantly, should the match play leave Tucson, where should it go from here?

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Reader Comments (22)

I filled my form out in a nanosecond.
The course is so flaky and devoid of personality with those dopey green complexes, I couldn't conjure up a mental picture of what type of game might have an advantage.
My only solid prediction is the Johnson/Furyk match will be the gobbiest.
02.21.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdbh
Where to go? I've said it before...Vegas, baby, Vegas. You may not be able to get Shadow creek, but this may be the ultimate gambler's tournament.
That said, the tour is unlikely to be interested in turning this into the March Madness of golf...
02.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlex H
It's definitely a gamblers tournament - no good way to pick a winner or a top finisher, lol. Unless somebody knows something ... :)
Match play is always a crap shoot.
These guys are very good and on any given day anyone can win as a rule.
Except....some players can rise to the occasion.
The key is.....who.
02.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterStanley Thompson
It's still hard to pick who will rise to the occasion in match play ... although ... now you got me thinking of a different way to handicap the brackets. Hmmmm....
I don't know what prompted it, but Tiger as been much more engaging in press conferences the past few weeks.
02.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGoose
Put your money on The Rock. You heard it here first.
02.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterMRP
Beautiful course, beautiful location what's the problem? would you like it better with some houses crowding the course?
02.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeff
I'm with you Jeff, I like this course.
02.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSpanky
Be interesting to see how this Woods vs. Fernandez-Castano given the comments by Fernandez-Castano. I have Tiger losing to Webb in the round of 8.
02.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDel the Funk
Just stay at Riviera and play the Match Play right after The Northern Trust.
02.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Matre
Jeff/Spanky, I've been watching this course host the match play for a few years now...and I can't remember a single hole. Awful, awful course for match play. Awful.
02.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Matre
TPC at Sawgrass would be a dynamite match play course. Firestone hosted two tournaments a year back in the 70's, so why not? Wet and windy for the match play, firm and fast for The Players. Would work great for me.
02.21.2012 | Unregistered CommenterHawkeye
Geoff O came out on top of KJ in mine.
02.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKeith86
If you assume the date can't move and the tournament must be played in the U.S., you're stuck with SoCal, Hawaii, or Florida as possibilities. The tour already visits each major metro area in those areas already. Moving it earlier to, say, San Diego and making Tucson a regular tour stop would conflict with the Middle East tournaments (read: appearance fees). The weather is too iffy in Las Vegas this time of the year. The only places that stand out are Orange County and Tucson. What options are available for staging the event in those locations?

Of course if they want it to be a *World* Golf Championship and they want direct flights to Miami for the next week, they could take it to Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, or...ah, forget it.
02.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKS
They could take the match play to "outdated" courses that are unable to host majors anymore because of length issues. They might have to change the date but it would keep classic couses relevant since yardage and par don't matter as much in match play. Or, like previously stated, stay at Riviera one year, Sawgrass the next, back to Pebble etc. To me, the amount of memorable holes are the true test of a great course -- at least from a viewers perspective -- and Dove Mountain has none. Another Nicklaus masterpiece -- just ask him.
02.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterTMayes
@Tmayes -

That's a pretty cool idea with the older classic venues getting some Match Play action.

That's an excellent point. Watching the President's Cup at Royal Melbourne made me think the same thing: courses that aren't "suitable" for medal tournaments, because the pros would go too deep, might be a great deal of fun for match play. I'm not familiar with the courses in Tucson, but surely there's a place where they could move this event. It would be a shame for Tucson to lose it, IMHO.
02.22.2012 | Unregistered Commentertlavin
There really aren't any in the "classic" category in Tucscon. The ones that jump out to me in south Florida would be places like Seminole, Jupiter Hills, etc. LACC would be an obvious choice in LA but anything you do there would siphon off interest from the Riviera event. That said, I can't think of any that would give up their golf course for a week in February so the pros could play there instead of the members.
02.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKS
A yearly WGC Match Play event the last week of February? Vegas Baby, Vegas.
02.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve D.
"Nurse Pants - Americans suck - who needs majors to be #1" Donald lost? I am dancing to the Bee Gee's "Tragedy" as I type.
02.22.2012 | Unregistered Commentercalvin coolidge
Teeth of Le Chien.
02.22.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJGW

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