Rory McIlroy wins WGC Match Play
I love match play. It pits two players again each other with only one winner. Each hole is a mini-match where each player needs to respond to or react to your opponents shot. It tests resolve, determination, and guts. Match play can be unpredictable and fickle. Jordan Spieth was superb for two matches and then lost to a player that got hot at the right time.
Players in match play play more aggressively. They will go for tough pins and cut corners to get advantages. I was impressed with how many great shots were matched with even greater shots. On the other hand, there were noticeable “chokes”. Short putts missed that would win or tie matches on the last hole. Lee Westwood’s putt on 18 from five feet in his second match might have been one of the worst putts from a good player that I have seen in recent years. Match play reveals weaknesses that regular stroke play can hide.
Rory McIlroy showed great resolve and answered numerous challenges. He wins the last two holes against Paul Casey in the quarter-finals. Brilliantly holes a long 20 footer on the 17th hole or else he is gone. Gets in up and down on 18 to win and outlasts Casey in four extra holes. At one point Rory got it “up and down” 19 out to 21 times. That’s beyond good, because you were dealing with US Open type rough and tough pin positions. If he wasn’t that good around the greens, he would’ve been out of the tournament in the early stages.
But there is a reason for him earning the number one ranking in the world. When faced with a challenge, he met it each time. Great players thrive on challenges. Rory was challenged all week and he answered. It was an impressive win. In boxing terms, he withstood each hard blow and had enough left to deliver his knockout punch.Next week is another great challenge for the best players in the world, The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. It isn’t a major, but if you win this event, you proudly highlight it on our career accomplishments. Tiger Wood reemerges minus his girlfriend of three years, Lindsay Vonn. This will test all his ball striking skills, because to be successful you need to work the ball, high, low, left to right, right to left, and have deft touch around the greens. In my mind, this tournament will show what we can expect from Tiger in the final three majors of 2015.