Welcome to Teeing Off, where Devil Ball editor Jay Busbee and head writer Shane Bacon take a day's topic and smack it all over the course. Suggest a future topic by writing email@example.com, or hit us on Twitter at @jaybusbee and @shanebacon. This week, with the Accenture Match Play kicking off, we discuss which of the non-majors is the best tournament of the season.
Bacon: This week kicks off the first of our BIG worldwide events, with the 64 (well, 65) best players in the world heading towards Marana, Ariz. to kick off the Accenture Match Play. It's the only big match play event of the year, and the only one that brings all the goods together, but is it the best non-major of the year? I'm partial, because I absolutely LOVE match play, so I'm going to say yes, but I'd like to hear your argument against it. You're not going to bring up the now European-hated Players Championship are you? No chance you toss your local Tour Championship my way? I'll give you the Memorial or Bay Hill, but there isn't a lot else that could make this list, is there?
Busbee: We've got a bit of an issue here with format versus tournament. If the Accenture was yet another stroke play event, I venture to say you wouldn't be nearly as excited about it. So there's the key: slap match play onto everything! Why not have the U.S. Open be 256 players deep, eight rounds of match play for your victor? It's flawless! Anyway, I do love the match play, but I'm looking at it as a bit of an aberration -- a welcome one, but an aberration nonetheless -- and thus I'm going to pick the Tour Championship as my favorite non-major event. No, I'm not in Ty Votaw's pocket, and no, this is not an endorsement of the FedEx Cup. But seeing the top 30 golfers on Tour in one place for a four-day, no-cut tourney is a fine weekend. Now, proceed to fire away.
Bacon: Did Votaw attach a brainwashing elixir to that FedEx e-mail?!? The Tour Championship?!?! I'm assuming the Braves are also your pick to win the pennant next year, and you think the Hawks are a dark horse this year to win the NBA Championship.
Okay, okay, okay ... I agree with you slightly that the Tour Championship is a fun event to watch, if not for any other reason than it's the last thing we care about each season, but you are ranking it above the Memorial? It takes precedent over the Arnold Palmer Invitational? You're telling me it eclipses Firestone? Sawgrass? MARANA?! I do think the Accenture is gimmicky, but it's a fun gimmick. I love that half of these millionaire guys have to leave after one day of golf, and that's one of the reason some guys hate it. I love that it's at a very scenic golf course. I love that we get players like Seung-yul Noh, Hiroyuki Fujita, and Yuta Iked in the top-64, and I love that they have a chance to upset some of our favorites.
The only thing I see wrong with the Accenture is a bad final draw, where nobody tunes in because nobody cares about the names. If somehow, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were the final two, it would be the biggest draw of any golf event outside of Augusta National, I think.
Busbee: I, uh ... pass.
No, seriously, picking the best non-major is like picking which of your cousins you like best. (No "he's from the South, so you know what that means," smart guy.) What I mean is, yeah, they're fine tournaments and all, but seriously -- we all know where our hearts truly lie. I dig Bay Hill, Quail Hollow, even the goofy Players' Championship at Sawgrass. And, gun to my head -- or Teeing Off to my inbox -- I'll agree with you that the Accenture is right up there with 'em. But I wish this particular tournament meant more than it does, or that Match Play was held at a bigger tournament than it is now. How sweet would it be to see the PGA Championship go back to match play? (A tournament which is, by the way, in Atlanta this year.)
And on that note, Braves, Falcons and Hawks all the way. Thrashers? Eh, I'm not going to get greedy.
Bacon: I totally agree with you that this would be a cooler tournament if everyone cared as much as Ian Poulter does. It's a cool event, but in the big scheme of things, it's just that ... an event.
By the way, where do you live again?
Busbee: Like I told you last time, no, you can't crash on my couch. At least, not when you show up empty-handed.
Alright, your thoughts ... which non-major do you enjoy the most?