Breaking down the Match Play results
Kevin Currie, Golf Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
For the second straight year, it was an All-European final match at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. With their 1-2 finish, Europeans now hold the top-four spots in the world golf rankings for the first time since March 1992.
Obviously, they were among the big winners last week, but there were plenty of losers too. Let's breakdown who won and lost at the Match Play.
Luke Donald is the easy first choice since he won the title. The Northwestern grad is far from the biggest hitter on the PGA Tour, but his short game is outstanding. He doesn't exactly drive it straight, which probably explains why this was just his third PGA Tour win. He moved to a career-best world ranking of No. 3 with the win.
Martin Kaymer may have lost the title match, but he gained an even bigger trophy - No. 1 player in the world. The PGA champion surpassed Ryder Cup teammate Lee Westwood atop the world rankings with his second-place finish at the Match Play. In his last 11 worldwide starts, Kaymer has four wins and a second-place finish. His worst finish in that span was a tie for 31st in Dubai. The 26-year-old will be among the top players in the world for years to come.
Bubba Watson made some new fans this week. Despite, his semifinal loss to Kaymer in a PGA Championship playoff rematch, Watson was impressive along the way. Everyone knew about his prodigious drives, but he showed off a strong short game that will serve him well in places like Augusta National.
Golf Channel and NBC showed off their new partnership under the Comcast umbrella. Mixing and matching talent, including Nick Faldo and Johnny Miller, is never a bad thing in a broadcast. The combination of channels was live on- air for long stretches this week to give viewers their monies worth.
Tiger Woods may have seen his swing 'click' earlier in the week, but it and his short game prowess were nowhere to be found in his first-round loss to Thomas Bjorn. I said it in my last column, Tiger needs to get his short game back. I'm sick hearing about the process with his new swing, get to the short- game range and find that touch. I am done picking him to win events until he wins again.
Phil Mickelson rolled to a 6 & 5 win in his first match, but was trounced by Ryder Cup teammate Rickie Fowler by the same score in round two. Count this as another blown chance to pass Woods in world rankings.
Television viewers got plenty of coverage, but with Woods, Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, defending champ Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood gone by dinner time on Thursday, more than a few probably didn't tune back in to watch the final three days of action.
Dove Mountain may have played host to this championship for the final time. A frost delay on Wednesday, then snow and sleet on Sunday didn't help the Nicklaus-designed Ritz-Carlton Golf Club. There have been lots of rumors the event won't return to that venue next year.
J.B. Holmes might be the friendliest guy on tour, but he really needs to play faster. The amount of time he took on the last two holes of his match against Bubba Watson was excruciating. I fully grasp that winning the match would have meant a spot in the field for the next WGC event at Doral and likely a spot in the field at the Masters, but I know people that could have played at least seven holes, carrying their own bag, in the time it took for him to play those two holes.
TOUGH LOSS FOR COMPTON
To describe Erik Compton's loss at the Nationwide Tour's season-opening Panama Championship as heart-breaking would be cruel.
The two-time heart transplant recipient did what all golfers would do, he went for the win. And it cost him dearly.
"I was trying to win the golf tournament on 18. I tried to hit a hard wedge and get it close," Compton said of his approach at the last.
He needed that approach to stay on the green so he would have a look at birdie and a chance to force a playoff. Unfortunately, the shot spun off the front of the green and he walked away with a double-bogey that left him three strokes behind winner Mathew Goggin.
After two heart transplants, and some long, hot days in Panama, Compton likely had run out of gas at that point.
There were weather delays each of the first three days of the tournament. That meant Compton had to squeeze 51 holes into the final two days of the event.
He played the final 15 holes of the second round Saturday morning, and did so at three-under par. He was even-par for the first 10 holes of his third round before play was called for the day late Saturday afternoon.
Compton completed the final 26 holes of the tourney on Sunday. He played the last eight holes of his third round at minus-four. Once the final round started, it was another story.
The 31-year-old failed to make a single birdie in the fourth round. The long final two days probably had a lot to do with this three-bogey, one double- bogey final round.
Despite the final-round struggle, he matched his third-best finish on the Nationwide Tour and picked up a nice check to boot. Here's hoping there are more big checks in his near future.
- Karrie Webb claimed her 37th LPGA Tour win in Singapore on Sunday. Only one player, Annika Sorenstam, has won more while Webb has been on tour. The 36- year-old Australian is already in the Hall of Fame and has many more good years ahead of her. Fifty wins isn't out of the question.
- Camilo Villegas defends his title at The Honda Classic this week. His week leading up to that win was remarkable. Prior to last year's event, he was in his native Colombia to help kickoff the Nationwide Tour's inaugural Bogota Open, which is also being played this week. After a whirlwind two days getting that tournament up-and-running, Villegas returned to Florida in time to win by five strokes at PGA National.