February 26 2011
MARANA, Ariz. – Turns out, this is a rematch of the playoff at the PGA Championship, won by Martin Kaymer. But that was then, and this is now.
Kaymer's world No. 1 aspirations are still alive. Bubba Watson still has a chance to win the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in his first appearance, too.
All Kaymer needs to do is reach Sunday's championship match. If he does, win or lose, Kaymer will end Lee Westwood's reign at 17 weeks. First, though, he'll need to collect himself after a stumbling finish that saw a 4-up lead evaporate and Miguel Angel Jimenez take him to the 18th hole.
“Jimenez was "very difficult," Kaymer said. "But the way I played golf, at least the first 14, 15 holes was very good. I made a couple of really big mistakes, especially on 16. I had an 8-iron and I was lucky."
Kaymer got some extra time to steady himself, though, as Watson -- who had not trailed in his first three matches -- rallied from a 5-down deficit with eight holes remaining and beat J.B. Holmes on the first extra hole.
The momentum in the final quarterfinal match changed dramatically on the back nine as Holmes had to concede two holes and Watson made two birdies to close to 1 down at the 15th hole. Watson went on to win the match with clutch pars on Nos. 18 and 19 as Holmes had two costly adventures in the desert.
In stark contrast to the front nine, Watson was extremely loose over the last few holes, chatting with the crowd and cracking jokes. He plays better when he’s loose like that, and Watson needs to carry that feeling into the semifinal bout with the world No. 2.
Accenture Match Play Championship records: Kaymer is 6-3. Watson is 4-0.