The Upshot: A thriller at Accenture
Day, Dubuisson stage a championship match for the ages from Dove Mountain
February 23, 2014
By D.J. Piehowski, PGATOUR.COM
- Despite battling each other for 23 holes, Victor Dubuisson and Jason Day couldn't help but to have fun. (Greenwood/Getty Images)
MARANA, Ariz. – Are you not entertained?
The final match of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship was the longest of the week, with Jason Day defeating Victor Dubuisson in 23 emotionally exhausting holes in the Arizona desert.
Sure, extra holes always mean heightened drama at a match play event. But it wasn’t the number of holes that made this an instant classic. It was the shots that kept forcing another hole. And another. And another.
Those weren’t par saves by Dubuisson. They were magic tricks, performed by a 23-year-old incarnation of Houdini – or Seve Ballesteros – who had a tough time explaining them afterward.
“Those two shots were amazing,” Dubuisson said. “I just played it like I had nothing to lose.”
While Dubuisson’s scrambling was certainly more theatrical, Day’s was constant. It’s what won him his second PGA TOUR title, and the first since the 2010 HP Byron Nelson Championship.
Get this: Day missed 36 greens in regulation this week and he saved par 32 times. That’s 89 percent if you’d rather think of it that way. The TOUR leader in 2013 (Bob Estes) got up and down 66 percent of the time.
It was a clinic in how to keep from giving away holes in match play.
“People like seeing that stuff,” Day said, “to see if you’ve got it – if you’ve got the guts to hole putts or keep fighting.”
There were plenty of people who enjoyed watching the magic from both players on Sunday:
Not sure I can recall anything like this in 60 years as a pro. Great for Match Play. Good for golf. Too close to call & I love both of them.— Gary Player (@garyplayer) February 24, 2014
Two of the greatest up-and/downs I have ever seen Victor!!!— Tom Watson (@TomWatsonPGA) February 24, 2014
There is no tweet that can justify how nasty those 2 up and downs were— John Peterson (@JohnPetersonLSU) February 23, 2014
TWICE AS NICE: Jason Day has played 72 PGA TOUR events since his first win in 2010 and you can bet that at almost all of them, the ultra-talented Australian has been asked in some form when victory No. 2 would be arriving. Each time he’d get close – particularly at big events played in Augusta, Ga. – the questions would get a little louder.
But after an offseason full of hard work and a rededication to the mental side of his game, Day has another trophy for his case.
“In golf you have to choke some,” he said. “But these experiences, these wins, and especially playing match play like this, it’s so similar to playing Sunday rounds. … It gets those juices flowing.”
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that the 26-year-old Day was disappointed with his career up to this point.
“A career is very long in golf,” he said. “I think the biggest thing for myself is just to understand I’m not Rory. I’m not Tiger. I’m not Adam Scott. I’m not Justin Rose. I’m Jason Day. I need to do the work and it will happen. I’ve just got to be patient.”
Two incredible up and downs from Victor Dubuisson at Accenture
RYDER CUP READY: The Ryder Cup will go to France in 2018, but we likely won’t have to wait that long to see Victor Dubuisson rolling in putts for Team Europe. The biennial match isn’t until September, but Dubuisson virtually locked up a spot with a runner-up finish at the Match Play. Entering this week, he was already No. 2 on the European points list.
“That was a big goal for me this year, now I have a place on the team,” Dubuisson said. “And this event was good preparation for me because I know what I have to work on for the Ryder Cup.”
The rest of Team Europe couldn’t be more welcoming.
CALL OF THE DAY: Fred Albers from PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com calls Jason Day's birdie on the fifth extra hole to defeat Victor Dubuisson and win the World Golf Championships - Accenture Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain.
NOTES: Rickie Fowler defeated Ernie Els in the consolation match to finish third, his best finish in nearly a year (T3 at the 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard).
-- Day joined Geoff Ogilvy as the only Australians to ever win the Accenture Match Play Championship.
-- At 26 years, 3 months, Day became the youngest winner of the Match Play. Tiger Woods was 27 when he won in 2003.
-- With his second-place finish, Dubuisson tied Jean Van de Velde, Thomas Levet and Gregory Havret for the best PGA TOUR finish by a French player.
-- For his finish, Dubuisson earned 315 FedExCup points, enough to become a Special Temporary Member for the remainder of the 2013-14 season. This would allow him an unlimited number of sponsor exemptions. To get his card for 2014-15, he would need to finish with enough points to be 125th or better on the FedExCup points list at the end of the season.
-- Els leaves the Match Play with a 16-16 overall record. This was his second appearance in the consolation match; he also lost in 2001 to Toru Taniguchi.