Jason Day wins the WGC-Accenture Match Play
Jason Day was able to take out Rickie Fowler and Victor Dubuisson on Sunday at Dove Mountain to win the 2014 WGC-Accenture Match Play.
To be honest, not a whole lot of note happened on the final day until the very end. Day and Fowler had a spirited match in the semis, while Ernie Els couldn’t hang on to an early lead on Dubuisson, eventually giving it up on the 18th when he made bogey.
In the finals, Day jumped out to an early lead as Dubuisson just couldn’t seem to get going, much like the semis, where the Frenchman admitted that playing against one of his golfing heroes in Els got to him. Dubuisson started to settle in a little bit throughout the match, but Day didn’t relent until the final two holes. Dubuisson cut the lead to just one on the 17th, but Day had a chance to close it out on 18 when he had a nine foot putt for par.
Dubuisson made his to force a playoff, but it looked to be over right from the start with Dubuisson going into the cacti on the first playoff hole. No problem though, he just played the bump and run through the cholla, the television cable and the rough to five feet:
So, the two would halve the hole and move on to the second playoff hole. Another bad approach by Dubuisson saw him over the green in a very similar spot to where he was in regulation. No worries though, another tremendous recovery was on the way, along with a great reaction from Jason Day.
Thankfully, Dubuisson let us breathe for the next two holes before they got to the fifth playoff hole, the drivable par-4 17th. Each missed the green right, but Dubuisson’s lie was far worse in the rough, giving Day the advantage and when Dubuisson’s birdie putt came up short, Day just needed to sink his three footer for the win.
Just before daylight ran out, Jason Day was the winner of the 2014 WGC-Accenture Match Play.
Final Four Scores
- Jason Day def. Rickie Fowler: 3 and 2
- Victor Dubuisson def. Ernie Els: 1 up
- Consolation Match: Rickie Fowler def. Ernie Els: 19 holes
- Finals: Jason Day def. Victor Dubuisson: 23 holes
What The Win Means For Day
Underachiever is the label that is most often used when it comes to Jason Day, despite the fact that he’s just 26 years old. I’m not sure that this changes that since this was just match play and the fact that Day is still looking for that first major win, but winning any WGC event is a big deal, especially when 64 of the top 67 players in the world were all vying for the title.
Many had Day pegged as a major winner in 2014, likely at Augusta and this will certainly add to that opinion. He’s an incredibly talented player that for some reason just hasn’t gotten it done as often as many would have expected to this point, but who knows, this could be a turning point for him in his career. He’s one of the best players in the world without question, and he alluded to the fact that this win meant a ton to him. Even though he’s won elsewhere, you know that not having won on the PGA Tour in almost four years, and being given that underachiever label by so many, was probably starting to get to him a little bit.
Day is now 11th in the FedEx Cup, 4th in the Official World Golf Rankings, and more than $1 million richer after defeating Dubuisson.
The Remaining Three
In addition to Day winning, the final three of Dubuisson, Els and Fowler all had great weeks and it should be noted that it means quite a bit for them as well.
- Dubuisson: Despite the fact that both Golf Channel and CBS couldn’t figure out how to pronounce his last name, this was a great week for Dubuisson who proved that he is someone that we need to keep our eyes on. He had already achieved the highest ever rank for a French player in the Official World Golf Rankings at 30th, and he’s moving this week to the 23rd spot. After this, it’s going to be interesting to see if he tries to take up any kind of temporary status on the PGA Tour, or if he keeps on playing in Europe. At the very least, between this performance and his win a few months ago in Turkey, I think it’s fair to say that we’ll be seeing him at Gleneagles on Paul McGinley’s European Ryder Cup team. At the very least, we’re likely going to see some sponsor invites coming his way.
- Els: The four-time major winner switched to Adams Golf in the offseason, and even though he was pretty bad statistically when compared to the other players, that doesn’t really matter in match play. He did what he needed to do, but I’m not sure what we can expect from him going forward. He’s always been fantastic in match play, but his performances in stroke play events have been highly inconsistent in recent years. The game is better with him in a good place, so hopefully this propels him forward a little bit.
- Fowler: Tremendous performance from Fowler, finishing third. Looks like he’s getting his game back in order and working with Butch Harmon is certainly helping that. He moves into the top-50 of the OWGR as well, getting into the WGC-Cadillac, and is likely inching his way back into Ryder Cup contention.
The Sergio Garcia Controversy
Even though there were plenty of storylines to talk about this week, everyone is still discussing the Sergio Garcia/Rickie Fowler concession. I posted some quick thoughts about it, but mostly about the media reaction to it, yesterday.
The End Of Dove Mountain
Regardless of who sponsors the event next year, taking over for the departing Accenture, we know that the PGA Tour is looking at other venues for 2015. Whether it’s Harding Park or somewhere outside of the U.S.A., it’s going to be a welcome change as let’s be honest, nobody seems to like this place despite how well it presents on television.
There were numerous points of evidence as to why as well when watching this week, as there were a bunch of shots that just didn’t hold on these crazy greens that Jack Nicklaus crafted. Believe me when I tell you that just about any other course that they go to will be an upgrade, especially in the minds of the players who didn’t show up this week. Bob Harig at ESPN penned a quick piece on Sunday after PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem addressed any possible changes.
Shots Of The Tournament, non-Dubuisson division
Both might be forgotten in the grand scheme of things, but these were the two best shots I saw all week. First, Louis Oosthuizen on Saturday needed to take a penalty drop after his ball landed here:
He followed that with a 3-wood from 270 yards:
He would make the putt for birdie and win the hole against Day. Secondly, Rickie Fowler hit a great drive on Sunday that somehow rolled out to over 345 yards. I suppose that new Cobra Bio Cell really is as long as the promos suggest because Fowler is not a big hitter off the tee. He couldn’t believe when he got to his ball that it rolled through the fairway and the rough into the desert. From a brutal lie, he kept his approach really low and somehow kept it on the green:
- As if you needed any further proof that this event is a crapshoot, all of the number one seeds were eliminated after the second round. The fact is that all of these guys are so good at this event that the differences between them over an eighteen hole stretch is usually quite miniscule. In other words, don’t put much stock into the perceived failures of players like Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson.
- Jordan Spieth didn’t have the best Saturday, and as he has been known to do in the past, he didn’t really handle it all that well either. Constant complaining and talking back to his caddie, plus the usual club tosses, even on shots that ended up in pretty decent spots.
Either he realized that it wasn’t the best form, or someone on his team did, leading Spieth to send out the following tweets after his loss to Ernie Els.
I think it’s easy to forget that Spieth is just 20 years old. He’s not always going to be in control of his emotions on the course, but those tweets do show some pretty impressive maturity and he should be commended for that.
- Big week coming up at the Honda, where Tiger is back in action, as are Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy.