WGC-Match Play: Jimmy Walker's dominance and Butch Harmon's predicament
By Alex Myers
Here's a look at what transpired Wednesday at Dove Mountain, and what we can look forward to Thursday:
Revelation of the day -- Wednesday was as awesome as usual:
Thirty-two matches crammed into one day?! Even with some noticeable big names (Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott) missing, Wednesday at the WGC-Accenture Match Play is still one of the most exciting days of the year for golf fans. Well, if you have a TV at work.
Match of the day -- Sergio Garcia vs. Marc Leishman: Garcia won with a birdie on the 22nd hole of the match. Clutch! Of course, it wouldn't have gotten that far if either player had parred No. 18. Not clutch!
Biggest "upset" of the day -- Rickie Fowler over Ian Poulter:
No result in this tournament -- even a No. 14 over a No. 3 -- should be much of a surprise, but Poulter losing a match is always noteworthy. The European Ryder Cup stalwart never led in his opening match against Fowler, falling 2 and 1 to a guy who had missed his last three cuts.
"That's soooo match play" moment of the day -- Gary Woodland vs. Graeme McDowell:
Woodland was cruising, 4 up at one point and dormie with three holes to play. But McDowell fought back to win Nos. 16, 17 and 18, and then made a birdie to win on the first extra hole. Ouch.
"That's soooo Jimmy Walker" moment of the day:
The guy doesn't lose against fields of 155 other players, so of course, he wasn't going to lose to just one guy. It was only fitting that the planet's hottest golfer (three wins already in the 2013-14 season) was the first player to advance to the second round, doing it in convincing fashion with a 5-and-4 win over Branden Grace.
"That's soooo Bubba Watson" moment of the day:
Via the AP's Doug Ferguson, after beating Finland's Mikko Ilonen, Watson said he didn't know where the country was. "I just know it's cold."
Thursday's sneaky-good best second-round matches -- Matt Kuchar vs. Ryan Moore and Jason Day vs. Billy Horschel:
In the Gary Player bracket, Kuchar vs. Moore is a matchup of two former U.S. Amateur champions. Kuchar also happens to be the defending champ in this event. And in the Bobby Jones region, the second-seeded Day will take on Horschel, who had the most lopsided victory of Day 1 -- a 6-and-5 thrashing of Jamie Donaldson.
Thursday's match we're most looking forward to -- Jimmy Walker vs. Rickie Fowler:
If just to see whose cheering section Butch Harmon will be in. Can his latest pupil, Rickie, knocks out Jimmy? Now that would be an upset.