“You can have lots of fun with it,” two-time winner Geoff Ogilvy said. “The format can be better, don’t you think? Some guys are there for three hours and you go home. You can see why some guys don’t want to go. I’ve been 5-under on the 14th hole and shaking hands. You’re driving home saying, ‘How fair is that?’ I beat 30 of these guys and I’m going home.”
Rory McIlroy and Ernie Els raised the idea of 36 holes of stroke-play qualifying, with the top 32 players advancing to match play. That’s how the U.S. Amateur works (it uses two courses). That would keep players around for at least three days, and eliminate some of the luck factor.
“I see nothing wrong with that,” McIlroy said.
Lee Westwood is among those - and it’s a longer list than some might realize - who like it the way it is. His one beef is the consolation match for third- and fourth-place. The difference is $120,000, along with world ranking points (both important in a Ryder Cup year). But as Westwood points out, the points and money is easily split.
No one cares about the consolation match. It just gives TV something to show between shots of the championship match. One year, the consolation match was moving so slowly that it actually held up the main event.
Woods has lost in every round except the semifinals. Imagine him on the golf course Sunday playing for the third place. Who are the fans following? Who is TV showing?
We won’t find out this year. Woods isn’t around, and Dove Mountain plays no small part. Woods only saw the weekend one time in Arizona, and that was the year he won. He won’t have to worry about that next year as the Match Play is sure to move - at least off the mountain.
As far as changing the format? That would be assuming it’s actually broken.
“If you get defeated, you should be packing your bags and going home,” Ian Poulter said. “That’s how I’ve always known match play, rather than a round-robin affair where you get a couple of bites of the cherry. The loser should go home. I think it’s perfect. I think it’s a great format.”
He plays the opening match Wednesday against Rickie Fowler.