Austin – The WGC-Match Play has modified golf programs twice and the format as soon as for the reason that final time Tiger Woods performed.
He nonetheless remembers what it takes to succeed.
“Nonetheless bought to win matches and transfer on,” Woods stated.
The opponent would not actually matter, as is the case with the remainder of the sphere that begins group play on Wednesday at Austin Nation Membership.
Dustin Johnson is the No 1 seed for the third straight yr and will solely title two of the opposite three gamers in his group. Paul Casey had to have a look at a sheet of paper to recollect who he confronted within the opening spherical.
It isn’t an indication of disrespect as a lot as understanding this format is so fickle – 18 holes of match play – and the sphere in golf is so deep among the many prime 64 gamers obtainable from the world rating that there are not any ensures.
Johnson recollects falling into that entice of wanting forward.
“I’ve made that mistake of not pondering any person was going to be an issue, and misplaced a few instances, really,” he stated.
Johnson smiled earlier than including, “Possibly.”
Possibly he was speaking about Mark Wilson, a brief hitter who took down Johnson in consecutive years on the big-hitters course of Dove Mountain in Arizona. Both manner, he is aware of the drill to emerge because the winner from every of the 16 teams to advance to the knockout stage on the weekend.
“It would not matter what your rank is. It would not matter who you are enjoying,” Johnson stated. “Should you do not exit and play properly that day, you are most likely going to lose. It is fairly easy. So I do not underestimate anybody I am enjoying. I’ve realized that lesson.”
Woods misplaced to Charles Howell within the first spherical in 2013, the final time he performed.
First, up for the one three-time winner of this World Golf Championship is Aaron Sensible, a former NCAA champion and the PGA Tour rookie of the yr who gained his first tour title in Dallas final yr.
It is easy to look forward at prospects, and for Woods to advance out of group play, there’s an opportunity he would face Rory McIlroy when the knockout stage begins. McIlroy first performs Matt Fitzpatrick, who outplayed him within the closing group at Bay Hill three weeks in the past (each had been crushed by Francesco Molinari).
READ: McIlroy counts on ‘little issues’ with No 1 on horizon
McIlroy gained the Match Play when it first went to group play in 2015 at Harding Park. Johnson gained at Austin Nation Membership two years in the past in a efficiency so dominant that he by no means trailed at any level within the seven matches he gained.
Woods created his aura by profitable 80 instances on the PGA Tour, most lately on the Tour Championship to finish final season and cap off a outstanding comeback from 4 again surgical procedures. He additionally had a popularity for being significantly robust in match play.
His file is 45-16-2, minus exhibitions, and that features 33-10 on this occasion. And it was clear after enjoying 9 holes of apply on Monday and on Tuesday that he was able to get began.
His solely expertise within the format since his final Match Play look was on the 2013 Presidents Cup (he beat Richard Sterne) and the 2018 Ryder Cup (he misplaced to Jon Rahm).
“That was the singles, one-on-one,” Woods stated. “I actually have not performed an entire lot of match play since 2013 and I am wanting ahead to it. I am wanting ahead to the truth that I simply get to concentrate on one man. Every shot is totally different, and you do not actually care what the remainder of the sphere is doing. I simply should beat the man standing in entrance of me.”
Johnson, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and McIlroy are the highest seeds, all with an opportunity to be No 1 on this planet by the top of the week, together with Justin Thomas (No 5).
Dwelling-course benefit ought to fall to Jordan Spieth from his three semesters enjoying for the Texas Longhorns, who was once invited to play the course. That hasn’t helped Spieth a lot the final thrice. He gained his group in 2015 earlier than shedding within the Spherical of 16. Final two years, he was eradicated in group play by Hideto Tanihara and Patrick Reed.
Extra of the main focus now could be on his sport. Spieth has missed two cuts and completed no higher than a tie for 35th in his different 4 begins this yr. However this week, it isn’t about posting a rating. It is about profitable matches with no matter rating it takes on every gap.
“I be ok with my sport proper now,” Spieth stated. “I bought off to a foul begin at The Gamers, but it surely’s been progressing properly. Match play supplies freedom to really feel much less protecting swings and extra belief in case you are engaged on one thing.”