MARANA, ARIZ. | Until match-play week, the
noise emanating from Ian Poulter came from
pastels and plaids instead of pitches and putts.
Now that he has won his first PGA Tour event,
the flamboyant Englishman will be just as rec-
ognized for his game as for his wardrobe.
Poulter, 34, has won eight times on the
European Tour, but his 4 and 2 victory over Paul
Casey at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Cham-
pionship was his first win in the U.S.
“It’s been a long time coming and I’m very
happy,” Poulter said immediately after the con-
clusion of the 36-hole final. “It was a good day’s
golf. I was in good form coming in. The nerves
didn’t play a part at all. I was calm all day.”
The match was an all-England final, pitting
Ryder Cup teammates – they were both cap-
tain’s picks in 2008. Yet, Casey, who had been so
dominant during the early rounds, was actu-
ally never a threat to Poulter, who never trailed
after the third hole of the match.
Finchem: ‘We Just Screwed Up’
MARANA, ARIZ. | Two days after Tiger Woods’ mea culpa, PGA Tour Com-
missioner Tim Finchem gave one of his own after failing to inform players in
the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship that Woods would be giving
his speech during the tournament.
“We just screwed up,” Finchem said Sunday, having returned to the Ac-
centure after going to Florida for Woods’ oration.
“It was just a screw-up on my part,” he conceded. “You never can communi-
cate too much in this business, and when you don’t, you usually pay a price, and
that was a good example. That was part of the learning experience.”
News that Woods would be re-emerging after three months in hiding
broke around noon Mountain Standard Time on Wednesday, and immedi-
ately became the main topic at the tournament, overshadowing actual play.
“In hindsight,” Finchem said, “we should have pushed the thing along
in a way that got the players briefed before they went to their Wednesday
matches, whether that was Tuesday evening or Wednesday, so they’re not
coming out of a match and getting hit with all these Tiger questions.”
It was another kind of hit, a possible literal one, that brought about a
question of another sort for Finchem. In Australia, Woods’ caddie Steve
Williams told a newspaper he would continue to act as an enforcer against
people heckling Woods, when he does return.
“First of all,” said Finchem, “we have a lot of caddies out here who are
reasonably objective in terms of quieting down fans now. I’ve heard some
this week. But in terms of acceptable behavior, we want to maintain the
atmosphere that we have to play golf. It varies from week to week, as you
The Phoenix tournament, the Waste Management Open, is infamous for
having the most boisterous spectators in golf, some 15,000 of which hang
around the par- 3 16th, where there are refreshment stands.
“Phoenix,” Finchem agreed, “is pushing the envelope in certain ways as
far as crowd noise, and we just have to see how that unfolds and deal with
things as they pop up. I’m sure we’re going to have instances where we’re
going to have to deal with it.”
Asked if he had an idea when Woods might return, Finchem had a quick,
brief answer: “No.”
Then he added, “Based on what he said, on the non-competitive side
he’s got to continue through the process he’s going through and wherever it
comes out where he’s at a comfort level there, whether it’s family or per-
sonal issues. On the competitive side, we all know that he’s not going to tee
it up until he feels like he’s going to win the golf tournament.”