News & ToursApril 30, 2015

WGC Match Play: 5 things we learned from Day 2 at TPC Harding Park



1. We'll have matches that don't matter on Friday.

Talk about awkward. Guys like Rickie Fowler and John Senden, who have guaranteed their spots in the Round of 16 already after Day 2, will still have matches on Friday. Which means they won't matter. At all. Same thing for players who can already book an early plane ticket out of town -- like Victor Dubuisson and Keegan Bradley -- they'll be playing matches on Friday that won't determine a pool-play winner. It's somewhat unavoidable in group play like this. Soccer's World Cup doesn't lose any mojo even though it has pool-play matches that don't matter. Maybe it's different in an individual event, because it does feel a little odd.

2. Masters playoff rematches? Yes please.

We'll get a rematch of the memorable 2012 Masters playoff between Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen on Friday -- with a Round of 16 bid on the line. Not quite comparable to the stakes of playing for a green jacket. But still, it should be a fun match, as both players are firing on all cylinders. Oosthuizen made seven birdies on Thursday to dismiss Miguel Angel Jimenez, who played well today. And Bubba has barely broken a sweat this week, having no trouble with Keegan Bradley today or Jimenez yesterday. You can argue that this match, along with Billy Horschel vs. Rory McIlroy -- who are also both 2-0 -- will be the two most intriguing matches on Friday.

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3. Being in the finals last year means nothing.

Neither Jason Day and Victor Dubuisson -- who faced off in the memorable WGC-Match Play championship last year -- are in good shape. Day and Dubuisson are both headed home after Friday, despite their match-play pedigrees. Tree-lined TPC Harding Park differs from last year's venue -- the desert Dove Mountain GC -- so maybe it's not too surprising. But you'd think Day would at least make the weekend.

4. When Rickie Fowler needs to turn around his season, he hopes the WGC-Match Play is next.

This might feel like deja vu for Rickie. Last year, he came into the Match Play in a rut after missing three straight cuts, before turning heads by making a run into the Final Four in Arizona. It was the start of a phenomenal season for Fowler, finishing in the top 5 in all four majors of the year. In 2015, Fowler hasn't done much at all. But he's gone 2-0 at TPC Harding Park, dismissing Harris English in a tough match Wednesday then coming back to beat Shane Lowry on Day 2 to lock up a final bid. Just like last year, maybe this is the catalyst to turning his season around.

5. We love split screens of action in golf.

There tends to be so many big moments going on at the same time during a match-play event like this, it's one of the most difficult to broadcast. Something we've loved that Golf Channel/NBC have done this week? Split screens! When there are two crucial moments of equal importance going on at once, why not show both? They've done this a number of times this week -- and we can't get enough.

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