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Captivating WGC Match Play deserves better treatment

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Iain Carter | 11:11 UK time, Monday, 20 February 2012

This week provides the most exciting single day of golf outside the majors, yet it often feels as though the game doesn't make the most from what should be a refreshing change of format.

First round day at the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship is always the most captivating opener to any tournament as the world's top players go head to head, knowing that defeat means their week is done.

Indeed, given the Wednesday start, it can be finished before a normal tournament week would have even begun.

On the other hand, if you are able to string a run of wins together there is every chance of laying foundations for the rest of the season.

Luke Donald

World number one Luke Donald will kick off his defence of the WGC Match Play title against Ernie Els on Wednesday in Arizona. Photo: Getty

With huge world ranking points on offer, making it to the weekend can often be enough to cement a player's position in the world's top 50 and ensure he will play the game's biggest tournaments throughout the year.

For American and European golfers, there is the added incentive of making big strides in the Ryder Cup qualification process.

There is so much at stake in these matches but often the tournament seems to diminish in excitement the longer it goes on, because television struggles to cope with the ever decreasing number of players taking part.

This malaise has been even greater for the American market in recent years because Europe has dominated the event.

Ian Poulter defeated Paul Casey in the 2010 final and Luke Donald beat Martin Kaymer to kick-start his stellar season last year.

It doesn't help that the tournament is played at such a remote location as Dove Mountain in the Arizona desert.

It is a beautiful setting but in the middle of nowhere, and attracting big crowds to give a suitable atmosphere to the matches has proved nigh on impossible.

The weather can also deter fans. Last year's final was freakishly delayed because of snow lying on the fairways.

Tournaments of this stature deserve better. The old World Matchplay title which was contested amid falling leaves at Wentworth attracted huge crowds, and there was no sense of anti-climax as those autumnal weeks progressed.

Where is the imagination to make sure that this potentially magical matchplay tournament fulfills its potential?

Take it to golfing heartlands around the world where golf fans in their hordes will turn up and appreciate the opportunity to watch the game's biggest names go up against each other.

Or perhaps be even more radical and combine the week with the women's tour because simultaneously they are playing the limited field HSBC Champions event in Singapore.

With a total of only 127 players competing in the two events, they could potentially share the same venue, media coverage and television exposure.

Suddenly all those gaps in the final and semi-finals would be filled with action from the women's tournament.

Logistically this is the one week where the world's top male and female players could play separate events alongside each other in the way that occurs in sports like tennis.

It would certainly help women's golf grab a share of the limelight and would do the men's game no harm, but it is hard to envisage the game's competing governing bodies ever entertaining the idea.

Instead we are left with two excellent tournaments on either side of the world that probably will not gain the recognition either deserves.

Nevertheless Wednesday in Arizona will be well worth watching with Donald taking on Ernie Els in the first match of his title defence.

It is the standout contest and arguably the best opening round match-up since Tiger Woods played Nick Faldo in the inaugural WGC Match Play in 1999.

Woods is the 19th seed this year and he starts his bid for a fourth Match Play title against Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez Castano.

Justin Rose's clash with Scotland's Paul Lawrie guarantees a British presence in the second round while Matteo Manassero's contest with Webb Simpson is another cracking match-up.

The in-form Phil Mickelson and the injured Casey are the only members of the world's top 64 not competing.

Mickelson has a family holiday planned for this week but if this tournament were able to attain the kudos it deserves, one suspects Lefty's domestic timetable might have been altered to accommodate it.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    A message for our leader mickey sausage, due to work commitments and not sure if I can get internet access in the middle of nowhere as my mobile doen't get a signal here are my predictions for the wgc matchplay

    Kaymer
    Poulter
    schwartzel

    I know my bottom to picks should meet in the second round BUT have you seen the draw,I would have gone for donald if he didn't have Big E in the first round,as well as some other potentially tricky matches.

    GOOD LUCK TO ALL in the prediction league,might be back on Thursday if the blog is not shut

    Am I the only one who gets up early

  • Comment number 2.

    Good Blog Iain. I have to agree its a shame the Matchplay isnt played somewhere like wentworth anymore. It just felt a bit more exciting when it was there.
    Its a shame Phil has chose to miss the event, especially with the form he has shown of late.
    I'm backing Donald to win back-to-back titles. He wont make many mistakes and win plenty of holes with par.

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm old enough to remember the Volvo World Match Play Championship being called the Piccadilly.
    Great days, don't understand why Match Play isn't more popular.

  • Comment number 4.

    Right guys it wasnt that bad of a week for the prediction league considering, a few people picking up points, with there being a lot of tie's there wasnt actually any "on there own" 2nd and 3rd place finishes so i have awarded points for the following :-
    Euro
    1st JBE Kruger - 10 points
    2nd - Jorge Campillo - 5 points
    2nd - Marcel Siem - 5 points
    3rd - Marcus Fraser - 3 points
    3rd - Man Jose Lara - 3 points
    Usa
    1st - B Haas - 10 points
    2nd - P Mickleson - 5 points
    2nd - K Bradley - 5 points
    3rd - S Garcia - 3 points
    3rd - J Walker - 3 points
    3rd - J Lyle - 3 points
    3rd - D Johnson - 3 points

  • Comment number 5.

    These guys all picking up points, special mentions to Powerhitter who predicted two 2nd place finishers picking him up 10 points and Daveyboyfletcher picking a 2nd and 3rd place landing him 8 points. Also special recognition should go too OldManGriff who only actually picked two players (one of whom wasnt playing) and still landed a 2nd place getting him 5 points..............

    maninasuitecase 5 POINTS
    cfcboy23 5 POINTS
    powerhitter 10 POINTS
    eight for six for one 3 POINTS
    daveyboyfletcher 8 POINTS
    welshwizard 5 POINTS
    rossji 5 POINTS
    oldmanGriff 5 POINTS
    TheSorcerer 3 POINTS
    Diamondvneck 5 POINTS

  • Comment number 6.

    Well TheSorcerer still leads the way in the league but DaceyboyFletcher is hot on his heels, these two guys are pulling away so we need to get some catching up done guys!!............................

  • Comment number 7.

    PREDICTION LEAGUE FULL LEAGUE TABLE
    ***********************************
    TheSorcerer - 28 POINTS
    daveyboyfletcher - 23 POINTS
    BiloMcT - 10 POINTS
    cfcboy23 - 10 POINTS
    Lordvodermort – 10 POINTS
    Maninasuitcase – 10 POINTS
    welshwizard5 – 10 POINTS
    powerhitterLee - 10 POINTS
    mickysausage - 8 POINTS
    sumo82 - 8 POINTS
    eight for six for one – 8 POINTS
    Diamondvneck - 8 POINTS
    CHUMBAWUMBA12 - 5 POINTS
    gbell - 5 POINTS
    Jimmy - 5 POINTS
    divotedgolfer - 5 POINTS
    Yorkshireblogster – 5 POINTS
    rossji 5 POINTS
    oldmanGriff 5 POINTS
    Jeffkenna - 0 POINTS
    Golfnut99 - 0 POINTS
    mattefc - 0 POINTS
    Rich - 0 POINTS
    PeterTheHoss - 0 POINTS (gone into administration)

  • Comment number 8.

    I love the WGC Matchplay, after the majors and the Ryder cup its the best event of the year for me personally. I agree with Iain about the venue but as i stated on a previous blog i'm not a fan of the desert courses so its more of a personal thing for me. In terms of alternatives. If it has to be played at this time of year then options are limited in America (West coast or Florida essentially), this might be an opportunity to take one of the WGC's outside of America, Australia or SA perhaps. But when that was done previously many if not most big name Americans simply skipped the event. Its a possibility worth considering though.

    As for the golf I'm hoping for more European success and as so many Ryder Cup points are on offer i'm personally hoping for a big week from Rose as his only chance of qualifying lies in the world points list i'd imagine. This would obviously mean rooting against blog favourite Paul Lawrie. Those all European ties are both a blessing and a curse though, on the one hand they guarantee one of ours to progress, on the other they guarantee one to go out.

  • Comment number 9.

    Great work mickysausage, although disappointed with my own nul point. An apology too to the sorcerer, for whom I predicted a nul point myself!

  • Comment number 10.

    I told you LordVoldemort never underestimate "TheSorcerer" he is a mysterious character!

  • Comment number 11.

    Good/interesting blog...
    Whilst the idea of a joint men's/women's tournament is a good idea it throws up some problems... I'd assume logistically it will be difficult to 'dress' 2 tees (sponsors boards, TV cameras etc) on each hole but it would be interesting to see if the men then observed the 'women's tee rule' for an errant 'duff'!

  • Comment number 12.

    thank you for letting me play #mickysausage. Sorry i hadnt realised i could have picked 3 players. are you playing this week? i was pleased with my Keegan prediction.
    i am also perplexed about Phil missing the tournament. in my days ( glory days! ) this tournament was arguably the biggest tournament outside the 4 majors.

  • Comment number 13.

    I think the idea of both sexes playing the one course would be a great idea as you say to 'fill' the tv coverage but unfortunatley ladies golf is not really being given the coverage any more probably due to the fact the asian girls are winning just about everything. As for hosting it abroad, the yanks have shown consistently over
    the years that they want all the big comps in their own backyard and dont want to venture outside their cosy little bubbles to often.

  • Comment number 14.

    Good that you write about the stupidity of holding the MatchPlay "in the middle of nowhere", Iain, but where was the European press, not to mention the chinless wonders from the Major Tours, when Finchem hijacked all the WGC's?
    You could also have added that the Pros themselves voted Nicklaus's Dove Mountain course the second worst on Tour, 52nd out of 53:
    "There is just nothing positive to say," said one Pro.
    "Everyone hates it," said another.
    That's most likely the reason Phil chooses to find an excuse not to play it.

    Time to roast O'Grady in the European media and get him to say, "Enough is enough Finchem. Let's play this at a quality venue which can be appreciated by players and fans alike." It certainly doesn't have to be in February and it has gazumped a perfectly excellent Tucson Tour stop. There are quality alternatives all around the world - if Americans didn't want to play, say, at Fancourt or Royal Melbourne, too bad.

  • Comment number 15.

    It would be nigh on impossible to play both on the same course especially taking the speed of play into account. Although that gives me a thought - if the likes of B** C***e didn't speed up he could be made to play in the ladies tournament. Just wondering......

  • Comment number 16.

    #14 kwiniaskagolfer : Well said!!

  • Comment number 17.

    A good blog mr carter.

    Im sorry to bring up an old point but do people agree that the world golf championships should be played worldwide instead of 3 out of 4 in America.

    I think both tournamnets, males and females, could be combined. Remember the interest when sorensran and wie played in the pga tour. It could drum up media interest that we all seem to agree the matchplay lacks.

    I think the mathchplay becomes less attractive to watch as the tournament goes on there are less games to watch so it is more likely there will be gaps between players hitting shots. I remember being so bored watching the final last year because it was 2 shots every 5 or so minutes.

  • Comment number 18.

    It is an old point rossj, but no less true for that. WGC is supposed to mean WORLD - and it just doesn't. As ever, the almighty dollar is the true arbiter of where the pros pitch up each week. Dove Mountain is a soulless venue, literally just another American resort course and Ian more or less answers his own query in the blog, the tournament could be so much more on a more traditional tree lined venue with packed galleries right on top of the action. Especially for matchplay, a far more gladiatorial version of the game, the venue should give the feel of a bear pit. Dove Mountain has more the feel of an ivory tower.

  • Comment number 19.

    They should play this tournament at TPC Scotsdale. Could you imagine that stadium hole no.16 with its thousands of spectators if it was a final between Woods and McIlroy or something? It would be one of the most exciting moments of the year. I always thought that hole would be great for matchplay. Will probably never happen though because of the WM a month earlier.

  • Comment number 20.

    @wombat7-0, You have hit the nail on the head there! What do you reckon Tigers chances are against the relatively unknown Spaniard?

  • Comment number 21.

    America has 3 of the 4 majors so no surprise about the WGC event venues

    pity Australia & South Africa (to name just 2 countries who have given us some of the very best golfers) don't have a major to host. It would surely be relevant to ensure the game maintains a world wide appeal and pays its dues accordingly

  • Comment number 22.

    @wombat7-0, well said Pal.
    mickysausage, i can see Tiger going out in the first round. However, i hope he doesnt as i would love to see him against McIlroy

  • Comment number 23.

    Whilst I have no sympathy for the American golfers there is a cultural issue here in that a vast proportion of Americans do not even hold a passport. Generations upon generations have come and gone without ever leaving the country so you have to assume it isn't in a lot of the golfers psyche to consider (significant) travel in their lives. Not an excuse just one of a possible few reasons.
    It would be fair to say us golf fans, therefore, have a much healthier respect and appreciation of, say, Dustin Johnson who has played global golf!
    However the power base is bound to shift as the US dominates the game less and less.

  • Comment number 24.

    can some one please tell me why someone who has won the us open by eight shots need to make swing changes??

  • Comment number 25.

    I doubt it would be mclroy iin the fianl he hates scotsdale

  • Comment number 26.

    @24 Yeah I loved that from McIlroy - along the lines of "I hope one day it just all comes easy to me" ...

  • Comment number 27.

    Mickey, am hopeful Tiger beats Castano, and am pretty sure he will. It's just that he is still one of the few who bring proper box office entertainment. There is sometimes a whiff of haughtiness going around from those who would describe themselves as purists - but on the rare occasions I get to settle in front of the box, frankly, it's Tiger, Westwood, McIlroy and Garcia I want to watch.

  • Comment number 28.

    Well said @wombat7-0, hit the nail on the head there!

  • Comment number 29.

    Good blog Iain - the absence of galleries is a real problem in terms of watching. Even the other night, a gripping play off finale ends with a brilliant putt ..... but cos all the fans were back on the 18th green - it was damp squib time.

    Re WGC - one of them should alternate between SA and Australia - that could surely be negotiable/ arrangeable by some gold-mining magnate. All your other suggestions would improve the event - Amen to them all!

    PS Poulter - Woods - Johnson - Bradley as top 4 this week.
    PPS Keegan's dark eyed gozzing - not seen such sustained sputum since my first Clash concert back in '77. Ban it, before an innocent rabbit is drowned!

  • Comment number 30.

    @27 wombat7-0...Do you think we'll see Garcia win a major this year?

  • Comment number 31.

    GUYS I NEED YOUR 4 PICKS FOR THE *WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship&*
    *********************************
    I THINK THIS STARTS TOMORROW AT 12PM SO THEY NEED TO BE IN BEFORE THAT TIME OR BEFORE THE FIRST TEE OFF!!

    AS THIS IS MATCHPLAY WE ARE HAVING 4 PICKS, 3 POINTS FOR WHOEVER LOSES IN THE 3RD PLACE MATCH, 5 POINTS FOR WHOEVER WINS THE 3RD PLACE MATCH, 7 POINTS FOR 2ND PLACE AND WHILST ITS MATCHPLAY I AM OFFERING 12 POINTS IF YOU CAN PREDICT THE WINNER!!!

    GET PICKING GUYS, DONT FOREGET I NEED 4 CHOICES ASAP!!

  • Comment number 32.

    @31 just getting brief internet coverage,my 4th pick luke donald ,hope this message gets through

  • Comment number 33.

    Mickysausage

    Belated apologies for my no show last week, was in the car all week and only had talks port to keep me sane - that's how bad it was.

    Prediction:
    Tiger Woods
    Luke Donald
    Sergio Garcia
    Colsaerts

  • Comment number 34.

    Good blog Iain, i'm really looking forward to WGC, and with it being a matchplay situation, it'll be good to have a look at a few players when the pressure is on!

    Mickey i'll be back on shortly to give my 4 predictions, i need to have a good think about this, try and put some pressure on the sorcerer!!

  • Comment number 35.

    mickysausage,
    my predictions Pal,
    1Luke Donald
    2Rory McIlroy
    3Tiger Woods
    4Keegan Bradley
    Cheers

  • Comment number 36.

    As for the blog

    Some interesting points, nice idea sharing a tournament but don't think would be feasible on same course

    What about joining the men and women in something akin to the AT&T or Dunhill??

    Agree poor location for this event but 62 out of worlds top 64 ain't too bad is it really? Think Phil had already decided not to play and before his last 2 performances don't think many would be mentioning his absence. Casey is injured. So I think the tournament, despite it's flaws, is still one of the most attractive to the tour

  • Comment number 37.

    Honestly Bio, I can't see it. Dress it up whatever way you like about his reconstructed putting game, fact is, he always seems just a little 'accident prone' coming down the stretch. I kinda lost a lot of faith in Sergio in the manner Tiger brushed him aside at Hoylake in 06 and although he has come close since, most notably twice to Harrington, he never seems to have developed that sort of steely resolve to intimidate other players when the heat is on. The only way I could see him winning one is if he were to blow the field away, by half a dozen shots or so. Is he good enough to do that? IMHO, No.

  • Comment number 38.

    @8,14,21,28. A 5th WGC event 'Tourno of Hope' is planned for December this year in South Africa. May clash with Tigers Chevron and Nedbank Challenge, possibly undermining their worth to the 'top' golfers given the much greater number of world ranking points that will be on offer for the new event. Given the increasing popularity of the WGC - HSBC in China will this encourage more of the elite USA golfers to experience foreign climes I wonder?

  • Comment number 39.

    Thomas Bjorn
    Matt Kuchar
    Tiger
    Poulter

    ... one from each bracket!! That's a possible 27 points!

  • Comment number 40.

    My predictions :

    Donald
    Watson
    McIlroy
    Westwood

  • Comment number 41.

    Adam Scott
    Bill Haas
    Charl Schwartzel
    Martin Kaymer

  • Comment number 42.

    Would love to hear my good old friend Jeffkenna's thoughts on the Matchplay tournament and who he thinks will go all the way!

  • Comment number 43.

    @37 wombat7-0...yeh i'd say your spot on there with that assessment of Sergio. The killer instinct to win doesnt seem to be there. I used to be constantly preaching that he would win a major about 5/6 years ago but now he doesnt really enter my thoughts on it.
    I think aul Padraig might have a chance to win another Open, he's still a class act on the links. I remember watching him win the West of Ireland years ago as an Ametuer and he was brilliant

  • Comment number 44.

    @wombat7-0 - Well said reference Sergio, he defo lacks that killer instinct to finish off a tournament, he is too much of a Mr Nice guy in my eyes.

    I have also noticed you have chosen Kaymer for the matchplay? Do you think he is going to come back into some form?

  • Comment number 45.

    BiloMct i disagree, i think we have seen the back end of Padraig, i think he has changed too much and he will never be has good as the guys that are around now (i hope this comment triggers a reaction from my Harrington loving friend Jeffkenna)

  • Comment number 46.

    @wombat7-0...keep the faith with Kaymer. i am a big fan of his. I am certain he'll bag another major this year.
    mickysausage....do you not think on a really windy few days Harrington would be one of the boys to do well?

  • Comment number 47.

    Good to finally get myself off the mark in the prediction league. I was watching the conclusion at Riviera (cursing that it had gone to a playoff and I couldn't get to bed) and while I had picked Keegan Bradley, I found myself wanting anyone but him to win. He needs to sort out his pre-shot routine quickly - all that backing off and constant spitting is a disgrace and he should be pulled up for it. I didn't remember him doing all that during the PGA, but maybe I'd just forgotten.

    On a lighter note, I find the Wednesday of the matchplay one of the best days of golf to watch in the course of the whole year.

  • Comment number 48.

    Sergio on the face of it shot a rare and excellent final round in the context of the tournament. But he catapulted himself into contention and still had 2 silly bogeys when the pressure rose, I think we would all love him to win a major, he has the game to win any of them, it's all in his head.

    Harrington has the links game and as with Darren Clarke can never be ruled out in that specific environment and conditions, which the Americans won't be as used to them. But if he does win it will be out of the blue, you would think there is too much talent above him, but the open is a different animal

  • Comment number 49.

    BiloMcT - I don't see how you can say Harrington will win another Open. His form for the past year or two has been woeful. He's had a couple of decent rounds this year where he's been on the leaderboard briefly but never kept it together.

  • Comment number 50.

    @47 powerhitter, i agree Pal, that amount of spitting was ridiculous. so unessessary as well. Why do they need to spit so much?! Do Pro Golfers need to spit more than the average person?! its disgusting and disgraceful.

  • Comment number 51.

    @49 powerhitter, Harrington has been back in form over the last few months. He's a great Champion. Does anyone have more Majors than him in the last 5 years? Harrington has 3...i dont think Tiger has won 3 in the last 5 years has he?

  • Comment number 52.

    The old World match play was popular because it was packed with a mixture of crowd pleasing favourites and cannon fodder. Seve / Ernie / Greg, a few Brits nowhere near the top 12 inthe world, and some IMG clients from the US and Japan who got some exposure and a first round exit. Interest stayed high because the field and the seeding were fixed to ensure it. This event would be much improved with a 128 field and an unseeded draw, so that the big names meet early.

    Ernie is only in the field because of drop outs, he is 68th in the latest rankings and had only 1 top 10 in the US last year. I doubt if Els-Donald is the tie of the round, never mind the tie of the decade.

  • Comment number 53.

    No question Yorkshire I think we'd all like to see Sergio bag one; as always you have to shake your head at some of laps Majors fall into ....

    Sorry Bilo, am agreeing with Mickey, Harrington's brief purple patch was his apex and three years down the line I'm still a little bit amazed he managed it. 14 months of total self belief brought about by finally managing to fall over the finish line ahead of Sergio at Carnoustie. Prior to that I always regarded him in the same accident prone way I do Sergio, and let's face it, the 72nd hole at Carnoustie did little to dispel the notion! Had it gone the other way I have not the slightest doubt that the Spaniard would have gone on to bag three and the Irishman none.

    But that's all ancient history.

    I've every faith that Kaymer is the real deal and will win more Majors. Seems to possess that steel I was referring to earlier..... in buckets

  • Comment number 54.

    @Bilo - You can't keep living in the past regarding Harrington? I'm with sausage and powerhitter, i don't think he'll bag another major, he's too inconsistant over 4 rounds to even come close.

    @Wombat7-0 - Great pick with Bill Haas in you WGC prediction, i really fancy him to do something but i opted for Westwood in his pool because i think he'll rise to the occasion with a possible match-up with Woods.

  • Comment number 55.

    Powerhitter/BiloMct - I watched the last round and Bradleys spitting was shocking! I notice how people was straight on Tigers back when he had a couple of spits, even landing him a fine! But Bradley was spitting all over the course, before every practise swing, after his practise swing. It was awful!!

    How good was Mickleson's birdie put at the 18th though to force a playoff!! The ball even jumped off the putting surface! Class!

  • Comment number 56.

    If you had to pick just onw first round match to watch, what would it be?

    I think I'd go for Garcia vs Jimenez.

    By the way the first match tees off at 7:25 tomorrow which is 2:25 PM here. Are we ok as long as we get our predictions in by then?

  • Comment number 57.

    wait and see boys, Harrington will surprise you again!

    As fos Kaymer he does have bucket loads of Metal, cool as ice!

  • Comment number 58.

    I would like to hear JeffKenna's thought on "Spitting" on a golf course and "Spitting" on live TV!!

  • Comment number 59.

    I used to like Bradley but the whole spitting thing has sort of put me off him! I know everyone spits but the amount he was getting out could have cured a drought!

  • Comment number 60.

    There was one point - think it was 13 - when he appeared to not quite create the propulsion necessary for a good spit and he appeared to gob down his own shirt! Coltart and Lee were having kittens in the studio. Quite funny but completely unacceptable.

    Sumo - just seems to have been a lot of players carrying forward winning form to the next week recently. Maybe there always is, but I happen to have noticed it more with the last few weeks.

  • Comment number 61.

    @56 There's a few good opening tie's in prospect, i'm looking forward to

    Schwartzel vs Woodland
    Mahan vs Z Johnson

  • Comment number 62.

    My picks for the Matchplay:-

    Westwood
    Woods
    Quiros
    Haas

    I'm going for a slightly different/controversial tactic, picking 4 from the same section to increase my chances of picking up some points.

  • Comment number 63.

    mickysausage - you're dead right, Tiger gets a hard time for spitting (and rightly so) but the amount Bradley was knocking out was just ridiculous. It was disgusting to watch and surely someone will have a word, whether it's a coach, manager or whatever.

  • Comment number 64.

    I might have a dabble on TheSorcerers picks this week, #easymoney!

  • Comment number 65.

    @62 - You've no backbone Powerhitter!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    What are Blogger's actuall thoughts on "SPITGATE"? Is it acceptable or do you think they should bring in rules, maybe possible penalties?

  • Comment number 67.

    Sumo82 - you're just annoyed that you never thought of doing it!!

  • Comment number 68.

    GUYS I HATE TO SEEM LIKE A BROKEN RECORD BUT DONT FORGET THE BELOW!!
    ***********************************************************

    NEED YOUR 4 PICKS FOR THE *WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship&*
    ********************************************************
    I THINK THIS STARTS TOMORROW AT 12PM SO THEY NEED TO BE IN BEFORE THAT TIME OR BEFORE THE FIRST TEE OFF!!

    AS THIS IS MATCHPLAY WE ARE HAVING 4 PICKS, 3 POINTS FOR WHOEVER LOSES IN THE 3RD PLACE MATCH, 5 POINTS FOR WHOEVER WINS THE 3RD PLACE MATCH, 7 POINTS FOR 2ND PLACE AND WHILST ITS MATCHPLAY I AM OFFERING 12 POINTS IF YOU CAN PREDICT THE WINNER!!!

    GET PICKING GUYS, DONT FOREGET I NEED 4 CHOICES ASAP!!

  • Comment number 69.

    #66 I just don't get it... of all the sports I play I only 'need' to spit when out running or on the football pitch (not indoors). My only excuse on the golf course might be a fly in the mouth!! Don't get me start on chewing tobacco...

  • Comment number 70.

    There is no need to spit anywhere at anytime, nobody needs to do it, it is a habit and a disgusting habit at that!

  • Comment number 71.

    @62...powerhitter..I see your tactical thinking, but only 1 of your picks can reach the last four, and that is if they do! But im bottom anyway!!!

    Comments about the spitting are spot on, if that was you know who, he would getting hammered, im talking news, back pages etc etc.
    Also that OCD thing he's got going on in his pre shot routine is bordering on ridiculous!

  • Comment number 72.

    micky....my 4 m8:

    1 S Stricker
    2 I Poulter
    3 A Scott
    4 N Watney

  • Comment number 73.

    Been out of the office all day today, missed my lazy tuesdays talking rubbish about golf.On the spitting thing, to be honest its not really a debate, nobody likes it or condones it. Hopefully he'll stop, but i dont think that its the worlds biggest deal. I can see if this becomes an issue that every time a player spits (On rare occasions you need to) then the whole world will jump on his back. Not really needed, hopefully the whole issue'll fizzle out.

    Looking through the comments i think i'm the only one who doesn't like the idea of the Matchplay being hosted alongside an LPGA event, dunno why, but i just dont like it. Equally i saw one person said there is a possibility of a 5th WGC they are supposed to be the next best thing to the majors, if you have too many then it dilutes their prestige, 4 is the right number, just would be nice to spread them out. Not just in location but in time, Is having 2 in consecutive weeks sensible?

    Alot of people have talked about American golfers not wanting to travel. To be fair though with the exception of Mickleson and Woods the top Americans arent established big names in terms of the length of time at the top end of the rankings so its unfair to make that criticism of them when virtually all the big events are in America anyway, their willingness to travel hasnt been tested. Yet!!

  • Comment number 74.

    Never mind about Ben Crane slowing play up and joining the ladies tour, having witnessed sunday`s excrutiating and quite frankly disgusting display from Keegan Bradley they should be banished to their own tour along with all the other specimens that think it is ok to take 10 minutes over each shot and continually spit anywhere and everywhere. And yes I am including Tiger in that!

    Never have I wished for a putt to be missed as much as I did on the 18th, if only to be spared more of the same in the playoff!

    Thank heavens for Mickelson.

  • Comment number 75.

    @73..Jimmy...good points. Ive not heard about a 5th WGC, and given the packed season as it is i cannot see where they could fit it in. I agree that 2 WGC's in 3 weeks could be spread out better, but the only way is, say for instance regular tour events change. I would love to see one scheduled in europe prior to the open permantely on a rotation basis. For arguments sake , UK, Spain, France etc.....

  • Comment number 76.

    Having one prior to the Open is a good idea Matt. Having it before the Open underlines its status as a secondary event however, almost like the opening act on the bill with the Open as headliner. If that were to be the case some points to consider in terms of drawing the best possible field.

    1. All players are different, quite a few like a week off before a Major
    2. The nature of links golf means that a good number of players like to practice on a links the week before the Open

    I'm not saying your idea is a bad one, on the contrary i think its a good one, however it would need some careful thought.

    I hadnt heard about the 5th WGC until someone mentioned it in an above post so if its not true dont blame me. They said it was going to be called the Tournament of Hope or something, a truly awful name so lets hope it was a wind up.

  • Comment number 77.

    Jmmy, agree with the difficulties of it. What i would like to see is a WGC two weeks prior, then the players have that week in between to either rest or play the scheduled tournament or practise on the course where the open is being held.
    Lets face it the americans would just have to get used to it, they do get lots of appearance money on the euro tour anyway. Phil Mickelson always played loch lomond prior to the open.

  • Comment number 78.

    Definitely agree the tournament should be improved. Boring course, no spectators and hardly anyone to watch is not a great spectacle is it? I'm surprised the sponsors don't kick up a fuss - not much value for them either probably.

    As for Keegan Bradley, didn't see him spit but maybe the tour should fine players £10,000 or dollars every time they spit and that would soon sort that oikish behaviour out. Better even to suspend them from playing. Haven't they got enough room in the bag for a handkerchief?

    I haven't seen the full draw for the matchplay but here are my picks

    1. martin kaymer
    2. luke donald
    3. robert karlsson
    4. ian poulter
    5. rory mcilroy

  • Comment number 79.

    Micky predictions for the matchplay
    Bubba Watson
    Gary Woodland
    Martin Kaymer
    Geoff Ogilvy
    Still going well in the league but this tournament is a bit of a lottery

  • Comment number 80.

    As Ian Carter points out it would be good to see the WORLD golf championships outside of the states. I went to the event at the Grove which was outside the open the only chance in the uk to see the top players in the world. As the name implys the world should get a chance to host these events.

  • Comment number 81.

    Am I mistaken or has the matchplay that used to be at Wentworth moved to spain and is sponsored by a swedish car comp?

  • Comment number 82.

    the spitting was horrible. no manners at all. fines would be appropriate.

    mickysausage my picks:-

    1.Steve Stricker
    2.Rory Mcilroy
    3.Luke Donald
    4.Lee Westwood

    Thanks

  • Comment number 83.

    mickysausage here are my picks:

    1. Luke Donald
    2. Westwood
    3. Dustin Johnson
    4. Garcia

  • Comment number 84.

    New to this blog but it seems to generate a lot of comments.

    For my part looking forward to matchplay tournament - why don't the pros have a foursome competition? (IMHO foursomes is the best format - can leave your mate in some really wretched places!).

    Mr Sausage - can I join your prediction league?

    Schwartzel
    Westwood
    Bjorn
    Kaymer

  • Comment number 85.

    @81...daveyboy.... are you referring to the volvo matchplay?? If so that is being held in andulcia

  • Comment number 86.

    @85 Correct at Finca Cortesin, really good course, best I have played in Spain, long walk though!

  • Comment number 87.

    mickysausage, many thanks for your efforts with this

    My 4 are: Donald, Kaymer, Garcia and Simpson

  • Comment number 88.

    YEAH IT REPLACED THE EVENT THAT USED TO BE AT WENTWORTH

  • Comment number 89.

    I thought it was only relocated while they worked on Wentworth but probably mistaken

  • Comment number 90.

    @88 ..davey..dont shout dude lol, i really hope a WGC comes back to wentworth, toughen the course up a bit more, but get rid of that new designed 18th, its terrible!!!! Who commisioned the water and that dodgy green!!!

  • Comment number 91.

    Ernie designed it and got panned for it by the pros then 12 months on they changed it mind it made for a great finish between Westwood and Donald when luke won and went to no. 1

  • Comment number 92.

    The idea was to make it more of a risk reward final hole to add some excitement it def did that last year at the PGA

  • Comment number 93.

    i think westwood last year was a bit disturbed by his approach that looked good in the air, i agree the risk reward thing but you have too counter a landing area that will reward a decent shot.

  • Comment number 94.

    Lee was a bit unlucky with the spin and Lukes ball stopped simple you could call it luck or Luke just played the better shot.

  • Comment number 95.

    davey.....was it poulter who said he would never return???

  • Comment number 96.

    Still it made for a better finish than the old green which it would then have turned into a putting competition, mm Luke would prob still have won.

  • Comment number 97.

    Poulter said that before they ripped the greens up and changed the grass Harrington was not a fan of the old greens either and only returned in the last two years after the upgrades.

  • Comment number 98.

    Poulter should play on our winter greens then he would really have something to moan about.

  • Comment number 99.

    i would love to play wentworth, i think its the closest we get to an american type golf course in the uk....parkland wise... have you played it davey??

  • Comment number 100.

    Matte interesting picks for the matchplay, you fancy Poulter to come good? Personally like him but has a streaky game and you cant really say his move to the states has really improved his game. What do you think??

 

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