MARANA, ARIZONA | Lee Westwood’s
Great American Adventure started at the
WGC-Accenture Match Play where he
lost in the semi-finals to Rory McIlroy.
He’ll play this week at Honda,
then the WGC-Cadillac
Championship at Doral,
head home to England for
two weeks, then return for
the Shell Houston Open
and The Masters.
It’s all aimed
his game for
and he also has
his sights set on
winning the FedEx
Cup. “I don’t know if
I am capable of that
but it is good to have
a pop at it,” he said.
“I enjoy Switzerland
and Holland but I
wanted to mix it up.
A change is as good
as a rest. This is my
19th year on tour
and it is good to try
ent. It’s all about
setting goals that I
have never achieved
before,” he said.
Westwood has no
plans for a Florida base and is happy to
live out of a suitcase for a while ordering
room service in dodgy roadside motels.
Or probably not.
Does anyone need to be reminded
about the fickleness of golf? One day,
you’re picking up a trophy. A few days
later, you’re picking up a suitcase.
Bill Haas arrived at the Accenture
less than 24 hours after he knocked
in that 43-foot putt to win the playoff
at the Northern Trust Open at Riviera
feeling good. Some 48 hours later, he
was gone, beaten by Ryo Ishikawa, who
in their first-round match was the one
who made the long putt.
“You lose the first three holes in
match play,” said Haas, when asked
to compare the format with a sudden-
death playoff, “it’s not over. You lose the
first hole in a playoff, it’s over.”
It was over for Haas at the Ritz-Carl-
ton Club, Dove Mountain, when Ishika-
wa came back from a 1-down deficit at
17 to win, 1 up.
Haas, ahead, stuffed his approach
about five feet from the cup on the 482-
yard par- 4 17th, while Ishikawa could
get his 7-iron to only 18 feet. You know
Ishikawa, who had been 3 down
after 13, made the 18-footer, and Haas,
not unusual after your opponent holes
a long one missed the five-footer. At 18,
Haas made bogey, and Ishikawa was a
Match play is a funny animal, as
every golfer is aware. Whether there is
such a thing as an upset in a 64-man
field of top-notch professionals re-
FedEx Cup Gets
MARANA, ARIZONA | The FedEx Cup
playoffs, the PGA Tour’s four-event
season climax, have been extended
five years, commissioner Tim
The playoffs, which began in
2007, offer $35 million in total bonus
money to players based on their finish in the points standings. Included
is a $10 million payoff to the overall
winner, won last year by Bill Haas.
FedEx umbrella sponsorship now
will run through 2017.
“We’ve seen it grow, it’s become
a big part of what the PGA Tour is all
about,” Finchem said the first day
of the WGC-Accenture Match Play
“It has had the effect of pulling
our season together. We’re going
to try to make some adjustments in
the next couple of years to do that
with the FedEx Cup in an even more
Finchem said there would be fur-
ther growth in the FedEx Cup over the
next five years. “How that plays out
in terms of the distribution of dollars
we’re not sure, but we’re certainly go-
ing forward, not backwards during this
term,” explained Finchem.
mains the unanswered question.
In the first round, almost half (15 of
32) of the matches were won by the lower
seed, most notably No. 64 Ernie Els beating No. 1 Luke Donald, but Els is a world-class player with three major victories.
In the NCAA basketball tournament,
No. 16 never has beaten No. 1 in the
first round. It happens in match play
golf not infrequently.
“You have to go low,” said Tiger
Woods, “but I think it was a (Colin Mont-
gomerie) match at La Costa. The winner
shot about 79. You just don’t know. You
don’t know who you’re going to get or
how they’re playing. In either case, you
have to go out and make birdies.”
That doesn’t always work. The day
after Nick Watney beat Woods, Watney
faced Westwood. Four down to the Eng-
lishman after 10 holes, Watney birdied
11, 13 and 15, and still lost, 3 and 2.