February 22 2013
By Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent
MARANA, Ariz. -- There is a theory on what it takes to win the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. The reasoning dictates a player must win a match he should have lost. There must be a close call, a bullet dodged along the way. If that theory is correct, then consider Bubba Watson. He had a 2 and 1 win against Chris Wood and a 1-up victory over Jim Furyk in 22 holes. I’d say those qualify as “bullets dodged.”
Bubba has been sick since the first week of the year in Maui. He had the flu and barely finished the tournament. Then returned to the mainland and caught a cold. Watson is finally healthy and you can see it in his demeanor. Bubba has been dodging bullets this week but might be ready to fire some bullets of his own this weekend.
By the numbers: Nicolas Colsaerts has played 30 holes of great golf. He has posted a 5 and 4 win against Bill Haas, and backed it up with a 4 and 2 victory over Justin Rose. Colsaerts has missed just two greens the entire tournament going 28 of 30. He had eight birdies in those 30 holes, has hit 17 of 23 fairways and has not been in a single greenside bunker this entire week. Of course, past performance does not guarantee future success, but Colsaerts is worth watching this weekend.
No drop: Jim Furyk was three down to Bubba Watson through 10 holes and rallied to square the match with a birdie on the 18th. They halved the next three holes before Furyk missed the fourth green. The ball settled into a divot right next to a drain. Furyk needed only to slightly widen his stance to be standing on the drain and receive a free drop. It appeared he never considered manufacturing that stance. Furyk played the ball out of the divot; it raced across the green leading to bogey. Watson won the match with a two-putt par.
Colorful: I wonder how many pairs of shoes Ian Poulter brings with him to a tournament? He has worn electric blue and fire engine red shoes the past two days. Of course, the shoes were only part of the ensemble. Poulter had a matching argyle red sweater with maroon shirt and trousers. To complete the sartorial splendor, Poulter rocked a matching lizard belt dyed red. Striking. There was no mistaking the Englishman from distance.
Sickly: Webb Simpson did not want to go extra holes. He needed the match to end on the 18th. Simpson and his entire family have been fighting colds and flu this week. He was visibly fatigued walking the final hole. Simpson mustered up enough strength and concentration to sink a 20-foot birdie putt to win his match with Peter Hanson, 1-up. A double round on Saturday might be trouble for Simpson if the sickness persists.
Putting: I am a big believer in the power of putting during match play. A good putter can carry a player during sketchy rounds when his ball striking is not solid. Consider both Scott Piercy and Robert Garrigus this weekend. They rank second and third in strokes gained-putting. Both players are known for their length off the tee but if both continue to combine that driving with wonderful putting, then both will contend this weekend. Of course, it takes more than just good putting. Luke Donald ranks first in strokes gained-putting and he was eliminated 7 and 6 on Friday, by Scott Piercy.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.