Hoping for another Woods masterpiece
I pretty much agree with everything you wrote, but I would like to add a few things not stated (“Sucker bet? Masters money floods to Woods,” March 29).
Augusta National is a unique golf course and golfing experience. Course knowledge can have a big impact on determining the champion. Tiger Woods certainly has it.
For those who never have been to Augusta National, TV doesn’t do justice or really capture the hills and slopes. It’s a tough walk behind the ropes from No. 1 tee to the green. Regardless of what the committee releases as “official attendance,” I think there are 50 percent more attendees, and maybe 100 percent.
Being in that tight, enclosed space, with tens of thousands watching, moving and talking, has to be extremely unnerving. Woods has proved that he can overcome the challenge under extreme pressure.
Think of how many players have excelled at the Masters for 18 holes, 36, 54 and even 63, and suddenly the unique environment and pressure finally makes them break. It takes a special player to deal with it all.
Woods is akin to Beethoven. Once you have heard a musical genius – or in Woods’ case, seen a golf savant perform – knowing that he previously has done it, you tend to think that surely he has one more masterpiece within him.
So, people want to see him do it once more. It does have some basis in rational thought, but probably is driven more by emotion.
I want to see him do it one more time and prove to himself and his critics that he still has it, but I agree the odds have moved to less-realistic places. After the Hero World Challenge, I told friends that he could win another Masters, but it probably would require five-plus eagles to overcome his driving and short-game deficiencies. In 3½ months, he already has erased the short-game end of it. If he somehow finds a bionic 2-iron or decent driver, he still has a chance.
Adopt U.S. Amateur’s format
We all know that sponsors and fans hate to see the big names lose early in the WGC Match Play, but meaningless rounds in this pool-play format are bad for the players, and the fans don’t get to watch much of those matches anyway (“Match Play lacks drama of one-and-done,” March 26).
For me, it was difficult to follow who was doing what in the pool play. Also, just because the top 64 players in the world (or the extras who fill in for those who don’t show up) are in the field doesn’t mean that they are playing as their position might indicate.
The PGA Tour should take a page from the U.S. Amateur Championship. All 64 players in the WGC Match Play should compete in stroke play for two days. The top 16 players then would be seeded for match play, starting on Saturday. There likely would be ties, so a playoff to get into the top 16 would be needed on Friday afternoon, potentially with quite a few players. A similar playoff occurs in the PGA Professional Championship after 72 holes to determine the 20 players who get into the PGA Championship. I find this drama of pros playing for a couple of spots extremely interesting. It also would make for good TV early in the event.
Viewers would get to see their favorite players for two days. If someone has a poor first day, there is a chance that he could make it up. If not, he goes home, as it should be. There would be no meaningless matches.
The match play on Saturday and Sunday would be the same as it is now, but it would feature those players who are playing the best that week.
Isn’t that what match play is all about?
Only the winners should advance
Some Morning Read subscribers have suggested giving byes to top players early in the WGC Match Play. As has been evident from this year’s NCAA basketball tournament – as well as in the recent WGC results – the best players/teams do not always have their best game during a tournament.
If you want the best golf, allow all to play. Whoever has the better game continues in the tournament. As we have seen in the basketball tournament, two of the top-seeded teams were knocked out. The so-called best of the No. 1 seeds was beaten by a 16th seed.
Forget byes and pool play. Let them play, and watch the predicted as well as the unexpected win their matches based on their play that day.
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