Jordan Spieth — Getty Images
Jordan Spieth — Getty Images
@shanebacon who wins match play this week?
— wesley whamond (@wesleywhamond) February 17, 2014
Bacon: It's one of my favorite weeks of the year in the golf world with the Accenture Match Play coming to Arizona, and even with a diluted field it's as exciting a non-major event as there is on tour.
One of the things that makes the Accenture so interesting is unlike every other golf tournament in the world, the action over the first two days are almost better than that of the final day in Marana.
All 64 golfers are on the course come Wednesday, and every few minutes it seems an upset is brewing or a match is completing.
Trying to guess who wins a particular event is basically impossible in golf, but if I had to go with someone this week it would be Matt Kuchar. Not only is he the defending champion, but Kuchar's record at this event is an incredible 15-3, meaning when it gets down to it in these short matches, Kuchar is the type of guy to go for the kill and advance no matter who he is up against.
For an upset pick (someone ranked higher than eighth) I'm going with Billy Horschel. He's just the type of guy I think will do great in this format, and if he can somehow sneak past that potential second round matchup against Jason Day I could see him making a run deep into this format.
@shanebacon Any chance they add a second match play event, its such a fun format. Would work well to get winner of FedEx Cup
— Scott Ruesterholz (@Read_N_Learn) February 18, 2014
Bacon: This has always been an interesting idea, because during Accenture week we all rave about how much fun it is to watch the best in the world go at each in other in a more traditional sport format (player versus player instead of player versus field).
The problem is, how many of those guys that were pumped before the week started stuck around to watch Kevin Sutherland versus Scott McCarron like it was back in 2002?
The reason there aren't more match play events is because money talks and even if Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are 12 shots back at the final FedEx Cup event the networks can still show them hitting shots during the round instead of only focusing on the leaders.
It also forces the final four, and final two, to be big names or risk losing a ton of viewers and sponsorship dollars, so while I think match play is great, I can understand why they avoid it more than this event and the Volvo Match Play on the European Tour.
(That said, I do wish the Olympics would have gone with match play for the return of golf in 2016. Seems like a more fun format and a change to a simple stroke play event would at least give golf some identity when it returns to the Olympics.)
@shanebacon where do you stand on Bubba's actions towards crowd and caddy? Is it a problem or are we just looking for issues at this point?
— Wally Brennan (@wbrennan52) February 17, 2014
Bacon: I just wanted to thank Mr. Brennan for asking the question in the most professional way possible.
Yes, Bubba Watson did pick up his first win on Sunday since his breakthrough performance at the Masters in 2012, but his attitude on the course has been the cause of concern for some fans.
One report from Riviera said that Watson went after his caddie, Ted Scott, about what Bubba thought was a wrong club choice on No. 6 (Watson ended up holing that bunker shot for birdie so all was good after that).
Watson also was seen snapping at a photographer who apparently got fast with his trigger finger, something that I totally side with Bubba on (And any golfer for that matter) because the last thing you want when you're trying to win on the PGA Tour is a distraction throwing you off that isn't necessary (there are plenty of hazards out on the course that you have to avoid, the last thing you want is a cameraman snapping a picture in your backswing to throw you off).
My feelings on Bubba is the guy just doesn't look like he's having much fun out on the golf course. Even when he's posting matching 64s it never seemed like he was having a jolly time on the golf course, and while that is totally fine for certain personalities, it seems Watson used to enjoy his time on the course a lot more than he does now.
Maybe this is just the mindset Bubba gets in when he's between the ropes. We've seen plenty of athletes change personalities when they get into their sport, becoming a totally different person when the clock is ticking but becoming a completely different person off the field (Tom Brady has ripped into plenty of linesman during a game and been completely cordial to everyone after).
I think guys get frustrated at times with certain things, and some people blame themselves, some people blame the course, and some people blame the caddie.
I wish Bubba wouldn't go after Ted as much because at the end of the day you're the one pulling that club and making the swing, but I'll take an irritated Bubba contending in tournaments over a nice Bubba finishing T-40 any day, because he really is that good for golf.
@shanebacon A while back you told us not to bet on Spieth at the Masters. Ball flight? Age? Both?
— Mike Mauriello (@mauriellom) February 18, 2014
Bacon: I think my point was more a nod to history than a knock to Jordan.
Spieth is definitely the type of young player that looks like he could win a major if he figures out how to avoid the one blowup round that has haunted him this season, but we've only had three Masters champions win on their first trip around Augusta National and none since 1979.
I think Spieth is a great, but we all need to remember that he hasn't even played a full season on the PGA Tour yet. If he wins two PGA events this year I would be really really impressed, but I think he has a couple of years before he will be ready to seriously contend in a major.
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