World Golf Championships
Cadillac Match Play
TPC Harding Park
San Francisco, CA
TPC Harding Park
Yards: 7,127 as per the scorecard
Par: 71 (36-35)
Greens: Tyee 007 Bentgrass as of 2014; contours were NOT affected by the changing of surface; Eliminated Poa annua
Rough: Tif-sport Bermudagrass 2”
Water Hazards: 5
Course Architects: Willie Watson and Sam Whiting (Olympic Club designers) in 1925; Chris Gray 2003.
Winner’s Share: $1,570,000
FexExCup Points: 550 to the winner
Dates: April 30 – May 3
Notes: Top 64 players in the OWGR in a brand new format:
- The field will be divided into 16 four-player groups.
- Each group will play round-robin matches within their group on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
- The player with the best record in each of the four-player groups advances to the Round of 16 for single-elimination match play (in the event of a two-way tie in a group, head-to-head match results will be used as the tiebreaker; a three-way tie will require a sudden-death stroke play hole by hole playoff).
- The Round of 16 will be played Saturday morning followed by the Quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon.
- The Semifinals will be Sunday morning.
- The Championship Match and Consolation Match will be played on Sunday afternoon.
Patrick Reed, Jimmy Walker, Bill Haas, Brooks Koepka, Jason Day, Brandt Snedeker, James Hahn, Padraig Harrington, Alex Cejka (PRO), Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Matt Every, J.B. Holmes, Jim Furyk and Justin Rose are the first 17 winners of calendar 2015. Hahn (No. 297), Harrington (No. 297), Cejka (No. 285) and Every, No. 96 were the only players outside the top 70 in the OWGR to win this year. There won’t be anyone outside of the top 64 who will win this week!
After 28 wins in 45 events last season the USA has won with Snedeker, Koepka, Haas, Walker TWICE, Reed, Hahn and Johnson, Spieth TWICE, Every, Holmes and Furyk in 2015. The USA already picked up wins in 2014 portion from Charley Hoffman, Bubba Watson, Ryan Moore, Robert Streb and Ben Martin. The USA has won 18 of the first 24 events. Cejka, Harrington, Day and Rose make up the rest of foreign legion who have won in calendar 2015. They join Sang-moon Bae (Korea) and Nick Taylor (Canada) from the 2014 as the international winners. It’s now six international winners from six different countries. #global
After 13 first-time winners in 2013 there were only 10 last year. Through 24 events in 2015, only Hahn, Koepka, Martin, Streb, Taylor and Cejka have broken their maidens.
TPC Harding Park has gone through many identities over the years but it will be the most recent incarnation that will shape the history and future of golf over the next decade. Host of the 2005 WGC-American Express Championship and 2009 Presidents Cup, those results will factor this week but will not be the tiebreaking factor. The club has since joined the TPC network (2010) and in 2014 resurfaced all 18 greens so it’s not the “same”.
Harding Park resurfaced all of their greens in early 2014 but the original design and contours were not disturbed. The ripped out the easily-spreading Poa annua and replaced it with Tyee 007 Bentgrass. The Bent will give it better resistance to disease, worms which prevent root development and general playability (smoother surface, not bumpy/lumpy such is Poa).
The club also replaced all of their bunkers with Pebble Beach white sand and all 18 approaches into the greens were reconfigured as well so course history here will play some part but will not tell the entire story. This new set up hasn’t been used in any PGA TOUR events and will be played in reversed nines for this event. #TheMoreYouKnow
WGC-Cadillac Match Play Winners
2014: Jason Day
2013: Matt Kuchar
2012: Hunter Mahan
2011: Luke Donald
2010: Ian Poulter
2009: Geoff Ogilvy
2008: Tiger Woods
2007: Henrik Stenson
2006: Geoff Ogilvy
2005: David Toms
2004: Tiger Woods
2003: Tiger Woods
2002: Kevin Sutherland
2001: Steve Stricker
2000: Darren Clarke
1999: Jeff Maggert
**only FIVE former champions are in the field this week!
Italics denote players not competing this week
Volvo World Match Play Champions
2014: Mikko Ilonen
2013: Graeme McDowell
2012: Nicolas Colsaerts
2011: Ian Poulter
2009: Ross Fisher
2007: Ernie Els
2006: Paul Casey
2005: Michael Campbell
2004: Ernie Els
2003: Ernie Els
2002: Ernie Els
2001: Ian Woosnam
2000: Lee Westwood
1999: Colin Montgomerie
**only FIVE players off this list are competing this week
Facts and Figures
Kevin Sutherland remains the only winner of any WGC event not to represent his country at the international level.
The last five winners of Match Play have never won a major. #Weird.
In the last six WGC events, only two winners have been major champions. #Depth
There are only 14 players to win a major and a WGC title:
Please notice in ITALICS how many of these players are NOT in the field this week.
There are eight players that have multiple WGC titles:
David Toms was 38 when he won in 2005 so he’s the oldest winner.
Day is the youngest winner at 26 when he won this event last year.
In 16 events, 10 winners have worn the Stars and Stripes but four of the last six have had foreign passports.
Woods is the only player to defend his WGC-CMP title (2003-2004).
Ogilvy is the only other player to win Match Play twice.
In the 55 events that now count as WGC events, only 13 winners have NOT been major champions. Check out this list!
Jeff Maggert: 1999 Match Play inaugural champion; THREE-time Ryder Cupper
Steve Stricker: 2001 Match Play champ; Do I need to list his credentials?
Craig Parry: 2002 Bridgestone Invitational; THREE-time President’s Cupper
Kevin Sutherland: 2002 Match Play champ
Henrik Stenson: 2007 Match Play champ; He won EVERYTHING in 2013 plus a PLAYERS
Ian Poulter: 2010 Match Play champ; 2012 HSBC Champions winner; Destroys the US in Ryder Cups.
Francesco Molinari: 2010 HSBC Champions winner; two-time Ryder Cupper
Hunter Mahan: 2010 Bridgestone Invitational champ; 2012 Match Play champ; four-time Presidents Cupper and three-time Ryder Cupper
Nick Watney: 2011 Cadillac Championship; President’s Cupper in 2011
Matt Kuchar: 2013 Match Play champ; also won 2012 PLAYERS; three-time Ryder Cupper and two-time Presidents Cupper
Jason Day: 2014 Match Play champ; seven top 10s in 18 majors; two-time Presidents Cupper
Patrick Reed: 2014 Cadillac Championship champ; five wins in three years on TOUR; 2014 Ryder Cupper.
Dustin Johnson: 2015 HSBC Champions winner; played in two Ryder Cups and 2011 Presidents Cup; would have been a third Ryder Cup if he wouldn’t have taken a leave of absence last summer.
Those are the WORST guys that have won this event! The other victories are by major champions. That’s unbelievable.
Tournament and Course Records
This section of the column returns next week as the TOUR heads to THE PLAYERS Championship.
Bizarre Stats of the Week:
The No. 1 seed as only won this event three times. His name was the same every time, Tiger Woods.
The world of match play is THE ABSOLUTE WORST for fantasy players. If you need more proof, Yahoo! isn’t even running a game this week. It’s impossible to handicap; it’s even harder to gauge player interest because they’re not playing for cause or country. With this being a “new” format, event history is nice but as veteran gamers will remind all of us: these guys are good and ANYONE can beat anyone over 18 holes. They are the best 64 guys in the world, right?
Kevin Sutherland was No. 62 when he won
Steve Stricker was No. 55
Geoff Ogilvy was No. 52
Rickie Fowler was No. 53 and finished third last year
TPC Harding Park was named after President Warren G. Harding.
Thoughts on Match Play
I’m looking for a guy who is playing well because these matches aren’t going to be won by pars.
At just over 7,100 yards the guys who can bomb it and hit GIR can put on real pressure.
Unlike Augusta where green reading and experience is paramount, nobody will have an advantage this week. Like Augusta the more greens are found, the more chances to put pressure on with birdie putts.
The new format is excellent and it is going to take a grind, birdies and a bit of luck and stamina to win this. The pressure of one-and-done is gone and that should help the better players in the end. As noted above not too many “outsiders” win these events and I don’t expect that to change this week.
Everyone in this field has played match play at some level but you can’t tell me this is the same as playing in the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup. I’m not buying that. Guys who have excelled in match play over the years will get a stronger look but if they don’t have any form, I’m not guaranteeing I stretch to fit them in.
The Chalk – Group Play
It’s a new format so this section will evolve as well. Below I’m listing all 16 groups of four and analysis of each player. After that I will list the players who I believe will advance to the round of 16. I’ll follow with the quarters, semi and final plus the winner and third place. HEY WHY NOT???
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This would have been some battle two years ago! Plenty of NAME but not much form in this quad as McIlroy is the clear favorite.
Rory McIlroy (1): He’s the best player in the world according to the rankings but some will argue that’s up for discussion with the recent play of Spieth. One way to sway the argument back in his direction is a victory this week but like any tournament he signs up for, McIlroy is looking to win. He can overpower courses and players and a cold putter will be the only thing that will hold him back this week.
Billy Horschel (18): This event and this group might be exactly what Horschel needs to kick-start his spring. He won’t have any time to lose focus and pars in match play aren’t the end of the world like they were at HTGL or TPC Louisiana. I like his fire and passion and I’m interested to see if this translates in match play.
Brandt Snedeker (35): He lives and dies with his putter and I’m not sure if that’s going to be the way forward this week on essentially a brand-new course. His ball-striking and total driving numbers will put plenty of pressure on his short game to be perfect and that’s asking a bit too much in this group.
Jason Dufner (53): His two best finishes this season are T17 and T24. He’s 90th in ball-striking, 176th SGP and 95th in the all-around. He’s in the wrong group this week to kick back into gear.
Group 1 Winner: McIlroy
The European Tour veterans will have to find something special to knock off the hottest player in the world. Don’t look up Every’s ball-striking numbers if he’s your outsider this week.
Jordan Spieth (2): I don’t need to worry about any match play stats for the guy who just made 28 birdies at Augusta and tied the tournament record in winning his first major. In his first appearance on one of the toughest places to putt on the planet he led with 11 holes to go before losing to Watson in 2014. I would suggest that he’s a quick learner. He hasn’t finished outside the top two in his last FOUR events on TOUR.
Lee Westwood (26): Like Spieth, Westwood enters the week on the back of a victory as he won the Indonesian Masters last week. Westwood has the experience factor in the group in both match play events and in general (2000 Volvo Match Play winner; twice-beaten semifinalist in ‘12) in this group but his career record is barely .500 for his career.
Matt Every (40): In his last six majors over the last three seasons he’s MC in five and finished 71st (Open Championship, 2014) so I’m not sure that he’s ready for this step up in class. His strength isn’t from tee-to-green so he’ll have to hole everything this week to get out of this group.
Mikko Ilonen (62): He’ll be playing with the house’s money this week as he was the last man into the field after Mickelson WD on Sunday. He is the last match play champion in the field as he won the 2014 Volvo World Match Play Championship last October. He lost his first match in group play to Joost Luiten but rallied to beat G-Mac and Alexander Levy to make the quarterfinals. He then beat Victor Dubuisson, extracted his revenge against Luiten in the semis and beat Stenson in the final. He had never won a match play match anywhere before that. Don’t forget, there were only 16 players in this field. His best finish in his last seven events was last week, T18, in China so this would be some upset.
Group 2 Winner: Spieth
Not much trouble on paper for the Swede who looks like he’s back to his 2013 form.
Henrik Stenson (3): The 2007 champ and 2014 Volvo runner-up is the clear favorite in this group. He entered the Masters on the back of T4-4th-2nd and finished T19 after being sick the entire week of the tournament. He has no problem performing in big events or overpowering courses. He believes he belongs and his closing 68 after the flu at the Masters shows me he’s heading back in the right direction. He looks intimidating and plays that way. The bonus for gamers is his resurgent putter to match his fantastic ball-striking.
Bill Haas (23): If he was an automatic OMIT in the bracket format, I’m not sure why I would change here. His only win anywhere was over the 50-year-old Mechanic last year. He doesn’t make enough putts and doesn’t have the pedigree in this format.
Brendon Todd (42): He’s peeled off six of seven weekends that started with T10 at Pebble Beach and ended with a 63-67 weekend on a very tight Harbour Town for solo fourth his last time out. His only blemish was 80-71 MC at Augusta but I was more interested in the 71 than the 80. His short-game will make him a pest this week.
John Senden (60): Some guys are ranked in the OWGR because they are just getting their feet wet. Some guys are ranked where they are in the OWGR because they are going the wrong direction. Senden is the latter as he’s MC five times in nine starts in 2015 and his best finish was T31 at Doral.
Group 3 Winner: Stenson
Monster mash of ball-strikers and the old steady Spaniard should produce our first “upset” of the bracket. There’s not much separating this bunch tee-to-green as they hit it a mile and peg GIR. Three of them are major champs.
Bubba Watson (4): There’s nothing easy here for Watson as Oosti and Bradley won’t be intimated or bothered by his length or ball-striking. Watson’s short game has hugely improved but we’ve seen more than once that he might not be the biggest fan of new surroundings.
Louis Oosthuizen (29): If the injury bug has passed him by gamers need to stay on their toes. He’s seventh in SGTTG and eighth in GIR. He’s also eighth in the all-around on the back three top 10s in his last six. He was T7 two weeks ago at RBC Heritage.
Keegan Bradley (33): He’s 11th in SGTTG and second in total driving but it’s the new putter that scares me to death. There are four fantastic ball-strikers in this group so it will come down to a putting contest and I can’t back the guy with the new putter.
Miguel Angel Jimenez (63): I can’t remember when he was asked the question about his ball-flight but I remember his answer: straight. He’ll be a bother but nobody over the age of 38 has won any WGC-event and this isn’t a Champions Tour set-up.
Group 4 Winner: Oosthuizen
A couple of major champs and a couple of world grinders populate Group 5 and it might be a rank outsider who steals it.
Jim Furyk (5): Furyk begins the week as one of four players looking for back-to-back wins after he won the RBC Heritage his last time out in a playoff. His confidence will be sky-high as he made 11 birdies in his last 20 holes to pick up his first title since the 2010 FedExCup. His match play record isn’t hall of fame but his experience and his “grind-ability” is.
Martin Kaymer (17): He finished 2014 with T2 in Thailand and fired right back up in January with a solo third followed by T4 in February in the Middle East swing on the European Tour. He arrived in the States to play Honda to start his stretch into the Masters. He opened with 68 at PGA National and hasn’t put another round in the 60s as he’s finished T44-T31-MC-MC-MC.
Thongchai Jaidee (44): If this tournament was in Thailand I would consider him.
George Coetzee (59): He’s jumped up from No. 81 at the beginning on the year as he’s racked up WIN-T3-T3 in his last three worldwide to move into this event. Hey, he’s got momentum and probably not a care in the world and he’s the danger man in this group. He had ZERO form entering the 2014 Volvo World Match Play and made the semis. There are going to be upsets and this is my first major one.
Group 5 Winner: Coetzee
Smooth sailing on the horizon here as Rose will continue his sizzling play.
Justin Rose (6): His disastrous 2015 has exploded with T2 at the Masters and 25 birdies to win the Zurich Classic last weekend. Like Rose and Poulter he also hasn’t lost a Ryder Cup singles match. Ignore his WGC match play record because he’s a notorious slow starter like most Europeans.
Ryan Palmer (22): His splits show that he should be having a great season and he is. His hotness began with T5 at Valhalla at the PGA last August. He jumped 22 spots in the OWGR between then and the end of the Masters. He’s seven of eight in 2015 with six top 25s and three top 10s. His worst finish is T33 at Augusta (MC at Pebble). Clear-cut second choice in this group and terribly unlucky to be grouped with the red-hot Rose.
Anirban Lahiri (34): His best results have all been on the Asian Tour. This is not the Asian Tour.
Marc Leishman (56): Wonderful news that his wife is doing much better after a nasty health incident a few weeks ago. Leishman went nuts with ball-in-hand on Friday last week where he racked up 10 birdies for 63 and six more on Sunday for 67. Not this week.
Group 6 Winner: Rose
The second-hottest player in this group is not who you think it is but the favorite sticks out like a sore thumb.
Jason Day (7): The defending champ showed his stones last year as he laughed off every incredible up-and-down from Dubuisson and found a way to beat him in extra holes to become the youngest winner. He had a sniff last week in New Orleans as he led after 36 holes and in contention on the back nine on Sunday. The wayward driver can pop its head up every once in a while but his short game and putting under pressure is well above average. Oh, and he was third in 2013 and his record is 14-3 in this event.
Zach Johnson (24): He lost in the first round in seven of the last 10 of these so I’m trying to find a silver lining here but I’m struggling. His game tee-to-green isn’t where it has been and his putter has completely gone south. I don’t argue that he has the class to grind out a few wins but he’ll be hitting first in all three matches.
Brendan Grace (38): Maybe he’ll be excited to see Johnson in his pod so he can exact his revenge from the 2012 Presidents Cup (4 & 2). He was a beaten semifinalist in the 2013 Volvo so that showed a nice bounce back. He has THREE wins since the middle of December worldwide and was T7 last time out at RBC Heritage.
Charley Hoffman (49): His three wins come on courses where he’s gone quite low and racked up tons of birdies but I’m not sure this is the week he makes sense. He sprays it off the tee and he’s 174th in total putting.
Group 7 Winner: Day
A bunch of wins, a major champion, an up-and-comer and a journeyman make for an interesting look.
Dustin Johnson (8): In a vacuum I never see him not winning but his frustration with his putter was palpable last week at Zurich. This hasn’t been a format where he can point back to and generate some positive vibes, especially Schwartzel beating him in 2011 at Royal Melbourne. Heck, Mark Wilson has beaten him twice in this format. THAT will win you a bar bet!
Victor Dubuisson (23): He proved his match play prowess in 2014 as he was runner-up to Day at this event last year, halved his first-ever Ryder Cup singles match with ZJ and lost to eventual winner Ilonen in the quarters at the Volvo in October. There’s not much “fluking” going on there.
Charl Schwartzel (37): He was T2 in par five scoring at the Masters and finished T38. This was his best finish in six starts this season in the U.S. In the old format he made it to the final 16 once in six tries. Let someone else bring him back to form.
Matt Jones (58): He racked up 10 cuts in a row to get gamers (like me, shaddup) whipped into a frenzy as he headed to SHO to defend his title. Of course he crashed and burned when he was expected to fire. He’s never played in this event or any other match play events as a professional so he’s got that going for him, which is nice. To win this group would be Princeton beating Georgetown for you hoops fans.
Group 8 Winner: Dubuisson
Well, there’s one putter and three ball-strikers in the group!
Adam Scott (9): After five first round exits in his last seven Scott decided he wasn’t even going bother last year. Maybe a change in venue will catch his attention but not knowing what putter he might use this week doesn’t fill me with confidence. Neither does the fact that he backed up his T4 at Doral with MC (!!!!)-T35-T38. The last time out, T38, was at Augusta. I’m confused. You can have him.
Chris Kirk (25): With only one top 25 in 10 full-field events in 2015 Kirk will have to putt the dimples off the ball this week to make some noise. The only problem is his putting has reverted to 2012 numbers as he’s currently 116th SGP.
Paul Casey (36): I won’t be alone when I suggest that the rest of Group 9 might be playing for second as Casey is by far the form player in this pod. In another lifetime he won the Volvo in 2006 but it’s his current form that has me salivating. He’s racked up four top 10s in his last six including T6 at Augusta his last time out. His splits are off the charts and his putter has been the balky distraction that it has been in the past. This won’t be the last time I type his name in this column.
Francesco Molinari (64): Molinari was cleared by his doctors and has made the trip even with the wrist that he claimed that was going to keep him out until mid-May. Well, he’s here now! I cannot advise his use this week, not in this event, let alone this group.
Winner Group 9: Casey
Garcia should be licking his chops with the two virgins and Donaldson.
Sergio Garcia (10): His pedigree should be able to take care of this group as he’s paired with Ryder Cup teammate Donaldson and the two English first-timers. He’s made five cuts on the bounce and was encouraged by his play at Augusta where he put three of four rounds under par and was T17.
Jamie Donaldson (30): The Welshman has MC in three of last four in America and this week will be another “new” course for him to figure out. His match play record over the years is helping me change my mind.
Bernd Wiesberger (39): He lamented on Facebook: “Disappointing Finish on the last. Still four solid rounds in the 60s with an absolute cold Putter. Once that one wakes up we will be up there again playing for the W.” After a smoking hot start to 2015 with T6-3rd-T4-2 on the European Tour, Weisberger hasn’t found anything better than T22 in five events in the States.
Tommy Fleetwood (54): At just 24 he’ll chalk this week up as a learning experience. He has more rounds of 77 or worse than in the 60s in 2015.
Group 10 Winner: Garcia
The final group drawn saved the deepest for last. No freebies here!
Jimmy Walker (11): With a second and two wins in his eight TOUR events of 2015 there’s little doubt who is the class of this group. Walker is acclimating to the big boy events without much problem and will have his hands full this week. Don’t forget, he LOVES golf in California.
Ian Poulter (27): I always watch on Twitter and try and figure out when he’s ordered a new Ferrari because he usually starts playing better. He’s made seven of eight cuts this year and six of those finishes are inside the top 24. His new Titleist clubs have been doing the business. He won this event in 2010 and the Volvo in 2011. I won’t remind you of his Ryder Cup record either. Slight favorite based on the format.
Webb Simpson (36): Another victim of the “new” putter as he has returned to his standard flat stick. He has nothing better than T28 in his last three on TOUR and I can’t use the “well he won the U.S. Open just up the street” as a legitimate angle as to why he’ll be Poulter AND Walker this week. Now if you want to tell me that he’s No. 2 in the all-around, No. 6 in ball-striking and 10th in SGTTG, I MIGHT listen. Might. Wrong group for me.
Gary Woodland (50): After opening with T3 at Sony to start 2015 he’s gone on to MC in four of eight events. Those four weekends haven’t resulted in anything better than T21.
Group 11 Winner: Poulter
US birdie machines will battle it out.
J.B. Holmes (12): He’s made five of his last seven cuts and three of those have been P2-2nd-WIN. He also has a T10 in that stretch so he’s quite warm. He MC last time out at Augusta a week after winning a playoff at SHO but I can’t hold that against his current form.
Brooks Koepka (19): He hits it a mile and is fourth in total putting. He makes plenty of birdies and has already proven he’s fearless with his sojourn to Europe after college. He’s won everywhere and there’s nobody in this group that’s going to make him think he can’t advance.
Russell Henley (45): He the third of three in this group that can just rattle off birdies in bunches. He’s won a four-man playoff at Honda last year. He was 24-under in his other win in his first tournament on TOUR.
Marc Warren (51): He’ll need to have a week better than last week as he MC with 72-72 on a course where five-under made the cut.
Winner Group 12: Henley
The department of inconsistency department threw four mirrors into this pod as all four of these players have had recent struggles.
Rickie Fowler (13): He was No. 53 in the world this time last year and finished third at this event. It wouldn’t surprise me if he won this group or finished last as he’s been all-or-nothing in 2015.
Graeme McDowell (32): After WD at Valero he navigated the elevation changes at Augusta to finish T52 and then headed to Hilton Head where he finished T26. He finished 2014 No. 15 in the OWGR and he’s now No. 33. #formless. He gets the benefit as he was the 2013 Volvo champ and back-to-back quarterfinalist the last two years in this event.
Shane Lowry (47): He committed to TOUR life in the States as he set up his winter camp in Orlando. He skipped the European Tour’s desert swing and racked up finishes of T7-T21-T17 but his last three have been MC-T58-MC #formless
Harris English (55): He took three weeks off after Valero as he didn’t qualify for the Masters. He returned last week and couldn’t put the some of the easiest greens on TOUR and MC. His splits are impressive but he’s not making as many birdies as he needs and is posting too many rounds over par.
Group 13 Winner: I flipped a two-headed coin and got tails so I’ll go with McDowell.
These are the haves and the have-nots.
Matt Kuchar (14): He’s 17-4 in this event and enters the week after a solo fifth in his defense at the RBC Heritage. His short game and propensity to get up-and-down from everywhere comes in handy during these deals. He was third in 2011, beaten in the quarters in 2012, won in 2013 and slacked to T9 last year.
Hunter Mahan (31): Mahan is just 16-6 so Kuchar has the upper hand on his countryman. He was T9 in 2011, the winner in 2012, second to Kuchar in 2013 and T9 last year. I doubt it won’t come down to their match to decide the group winner. Mahan played the final three rounds at Augusta 11-under so he’s on form as well.
Stephen Gallacher (41): He’s 1-10 lifetime in all match play events.
Ben Martin (61): He was fifth last month at Bay Hill and that broke a streak of five events with nothing better than T31. He’s followed that up with MC at Augusta and T37 at Harbour Town. He might just sneak up and steal this if the two favorites start looking forward to their match. Martin will stripe fairways and paint greens and that can be trouble in match play. Just don’t ask me if he’s going to make any putts.
Group 14 Winner: Mahan
Two more English virgins and two American proven talents.
Patrick Reed (15): Look up his college record in match play. Look up his current form. Look up his demeanor. Look up his Ryder Cup stones. Look up his short game.
Ryan Moore (28): He’s finished T22 or better in every event but one, SHO, in his last six and three of the last four are T12 or better. He’ll fairway this course to death and has proven his match play chops by winning the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Public Links in 2004.
Danny Willett (48): His four starts in the States have resulted T12-T29-MC-T38. Not bad for a guy who’s not seen any of these courses. He’s 27 so he shouldn’t be afraid of much and had a distinguished amateur career as well.
Andy Sullivan (57): He’s won twice this year, both times in South Africa. He’s also thrown in a T4 and T19 between those wins. Since his second win he’s rattled off MC-MC-MC-T54 and he’s a first-timer. Bad combo.
Group 15 Winner: Reed
Young, younger, younger still and youngest.
Hideki Matsuyama (16): He’s beaten Na in a playoff before at last year’s Memorial so that should add to his growing confidence. His finished fifth or better in three of his last six and closed with 66 at Augusta his last time out. He’s first in total driving and third in ball-striking plus third in the all-around. He’s 23. Got it.
Kevin Na (20): He’s right there in the form department as he’s put four of his last five T12 or better. His other result was T20 so that’s HOT SAWCE. Whereas Matsuyama had a decorated amateur career, Na turned pro at 17. He’s 31 now and the oldest player in the pod.
Joost Luiten (43): Those wooden shoes probably get uncomfortable on the course and so is Luiten in match play. He swept Ilonen, McDowell and Levy in group play in October at Volvo but was beaten in the semis in a rematch with Ilonen. He finished third after beating Coetzee in 19 holes. Not bad for his first time. He opened his account in the States with T11 at Honda but has since MC in three of five and nothing is better than T31.
Alexander Levy (54): His T25-T3 exacta on his visit to China has put some pep back his step after a quiet start to 2015 but the 24-year old Frenchman is the clear outsider in this group.
Group 16 Winner: Matsuyama
McIlroy def. Matsuyama
Casey def. Dubuisson
Henley def. Coetzee
Oosthuizen def. McDowell
Spieth def. Reed
Garcia def. Day
Rose def. Poulter
Stenson def. Mahan
Casey def. McIlroy
Henley def. Oosthuizen
Spieth def. Garcia
Stenson def. Rose
Casey def. Henley
Stenson def. Spieth
Spieth def. Henley
Stenson def. Casey 3 & 1
Rookie/Up-and-Comer of the Week Last Week
Once called the “Jordan Spieth” of the week, I had to retire that name after his last two seasons on TOUR. Now, we’ll keep a broad view of newer names/faces that gamers should pay attention to as the season moves on. Some former examples in this column include Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed and Chesson Hadley.
Shriners: Finau, T7
McGladrey: Robert Streb, WIN
CIMB: Cameron Smith, T5
HTOC: Taylor played his sixth event as a pro. He’s won 1/6 of the events he’s entered. That’s worth keeping an eye on for the foreseeable future.
Sony: Blair and Thomas finished T6 in their Sony debuts.
Humana: SJ Park (T2) is new to the TOUR but is hardly a rookie; Oh, look: Thomas in the top 10 again (T7).
WMPO: Koepka won so he graduates from this column like Reed, Spieth and Matsuyama before him. Justin Thomas is now the current mayor. Daniel Berger was T10, Thomas T17 and Finau returned with another top 25.
Farmers: Blair and Ortiz were T11 and Finau and Berger were T24. Not bad on a big, bad course!
Pebble Beach: Another top 10 for Berger and Curran as they had low rookie honors at T10. Will Wilcox was T18.
Northern Trust: Barber checked in at T12 and all that took was firing a tournament-low 65 on Sunday. No shame in Ortiz’s final round 75 from the final group as he played two very tough SoCal courses, Torrey South and Riviera T11 and T20. Noted.
Honda: Berger lost in a playoff. He’s played 10 TOUR events.
PRO: Young Argentine Emiliano Grillo missed a three-footer for his first win on TOUR. Curran hit another top 10, his third this season. Grillo has three TOUR starts; Curran has 17.
Valspar: There’s that pesky Thomas back in the top 10 AGAIN!
API: Berger just missed out on another top 10 with T13 and Blair and Ortiz racked up another top 25 each on T21.
VTO: Welcome Scott Pinckney to the proceedings as his T8 was quite stout. Ortiz hit the top 20 AGAIN with T15.
SHO: Berger, T25. He just keeps on keepin’ on.
Masters: Now you see why Spieth (WINNER) and Matsuyama (5th) were retired from the column? Koepka has already won as well. So has Henley. And Reed. Nobody this week fits.
RBC Heritage: Thomas, T11.
Zurich Classic: Berger, T6; Barber T8; Thomas, T12.
Coming Later TUESDAY Afternoon
Playing the Tips will be up and running this and every Tuesday afternoon and will list all of the Rotoworld experts picks in the GolfChannel.com game, the Yahoo! Fantasy Golf game, DFS plus the European Tour! Oh, and my One-and-Done feature. Look for it around 4 ET every Tuesday for the rest of the season.
Coming Wednesday TODAY AT NOON
And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat Wednesday TUESDAY TUESDAY TUESDAY at 12 ET. We will be breaking down the field at the WGC-CMP and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter. Don’t forget to follow Rob (http://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf) and Glass (http://twitter.com/MikeGlasscott) on Twitter.