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By Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange February 25, 2013 2:10 AM
1. Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland -- There have been more questions about the No. 1 player in the World Golf Rankings and his new Nike equipment after his pal, Shane Lowry, bounced him out of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in the first round. But the biggest reason he lost was that Lowry, after getting over his early jitters, simply played better in one of the most compelling matches of round one. ... McIlroy is starting his season on the PGA Tour by playing three consecutive events, and this week will be defending his title in the Honda Classic. A year ago, he claimed the first of his five 2012 titles, posting four rounds in the 60s at PGA National and holding off Tiger Woods, who closed with a 62, and Tom Gillis by two strokes. He owns a home not far from the course in Palm Beach Gardens, and his best finish in three previous appearances on the Champion Course was a tie for 13th in 2009, the first time he played the Honda. In 2011, he finished at 16-over-par and tied for 70th, beating only four players who made the cut. ... McIlroy, who lost in the Accenture final to Hunter Mahan last year, took a 2-up lead when Lowry made three consecutive bogeys through No. 4. However, the match was all square after 11 because Lowry won three of four holes through No. 9 before really seizing control. He chipped in for birdie to halve the 11th hole, chipped in for another birdie to take the lead at No. 12 and was conceded an eagle from five feet on No. 13 before holding on down the stretch. McIlroy became the fourth No. 1 overall seeded player to lose in round one of the Accenture. 2. Tiger Woods, United States -- Charles Howell III couldn't remember ever beating Woods in all the years they played as neighbors at Isleworth in Florida, but he knocked off the No. 2 player in the World Golf Rankings, 2 and 1, in perhaps the best-played match of the first round in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Woods, who has won the tournament three times, lost for only the third time in round one, also falling to Peter O'Malley of Australia in 2002, and to Thomas Bjorn of Denmark two years ago. ... Like Rory McIlroy and several others, Woods will be playing in the middle of three consecutive weeks when he tees it up on Thursday in the Honda Classic, not far from his home on Jupiter Island. He had not played in the tournament since 1993 as a 17-year-old at Weston Hills in Ft. Lauderdale before he teed it up last year at PGA National. After opening with a 1-over-par 71, he blistered the course to the tune of 11-under over the next three days, including a 62 in the final round that left him in a tie for second, two shots behind McIlroy. In 1993, he shot 72-78 -- 150 and missed the cut by five strokes nine years earlier. ... Even though he never held the lead against Howell, Woods played well, hitting 12-of-13 fairways and 14-of-17 greens, but simply did not make enough putts. Neither player made a bogey, but Howell took charge of a match that was all-square by hitting his approach on No. 15 to within inches of the hole for birdie and then sank a 24-foot birdie putt in near darkness on the next hole. 3. Brandt Snedeker, United States -- Snedeker is sitting out his third consecutive tournament because of a left ribcage injury, but hopes to return next week for the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral. After spending a week with his family in Hawaii, he flew back to his home in Nashville and got a shot from his physician, Dr. James Elrod. This injury is not considered to be as serious as a cracked right rib that cost him more than two months in the middle of last season. ... Sneds would have played in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship had he been healthy, but he was not planning to tee it up this week in the Honda Classic, perhaps because he has not had much success at PGA National. His best finish on the Champion Course was a tie for 39th in 2007 and two years later he shot 79-69 -- 148 to miss the cut by five strokes. After tying for 50th in 2010, he withdrew after an opening 72 the following year because his wife, Mandy, went into labor before the birth of their first child. He skipped the tournament last year. ... Snedeker's lead in the FedEx Cup standings is safe until he returns, because no one who can catch him is in the field this week in the Honda Classic. Even though he claimed victories in the Farmers Insurance Open and the Tour Championship last year en route to winning the FedEx Cup, his blazing start this season seems to indicated that he might very well surpass what was considered a career year. 4. Luke Donald, England -- Two years after winning the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, Donald got past Marcel Siem of Germany, 1 up, in the first round last week, but Scott Piercy blitzed him, 7 and 6, in round two. About the only thing positive you could say about it was that it was better than last year, when Ernie Els ousted him in round one, 5 and 4. ... Even though he lives much of the year in the Palm Beach area and has had some real success in the Honda Classic, Donald is skipping the tournament for the second consecutive year. He won the tournament in 2006 by two strokes over Geoff Ogilvy at Mirasol and finished second, one shot behind Ernie Els in 2008, but is planning to play only two events on the Florida Swing, according to the schedule at lukedonald.com. After the WGC-Cadillac Championship and the Tampa Bay Championship, he will fly halfway around the world for the Maybank Malaysian Open, a European Tour event, on the third week of March. ... Donald hit his drive on the first hole into the desert en route to a double-bogey 6, but that is not why he lost in the second round. Piercy never gave him a chance, shooting 6-under-par 30 on the front nine and carding five birdies and an eagle in 12 holes to record the most lopsided victory of the tournament. Luke didn't win a single hole. Against Siem, Donald made six birdies and needed them all, sinking putts of nine feet on No. 17 to remain even in the match and seven feet on No. 18 to win it. 5. Dustin Johnson, United States -- Even though he was seeded fourth in the Bobby Jones bracket, Johnson could not have had much confidence coming because of the way he has been playing and because he has not played particularly well in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Alexander Noren of Sweden took advantage of both factors by dealing Johnson a 6-and-4 defeat in the first round of the Accenture, and the American was beaten in round one for the fourth time in the last five years. ... DJ has struggled since winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions to start the season, so he made a late commitment last week to the Honda Classic ahead of the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He has made six starts already, but he has not played as much as he would have liked because he withdrew after one round of the Sony Open in Hawaii because of the flu and missed the cut twice in addition to his quick exit in the Accenture. In his only Honda appearance in 2008, he shot 75-74 -- 149 at PGA National and missed the cut by five strokes. ... Johnson never led, and did not win a hole, last week in the Accenture, as Noren built a 4-up lead through eight holes, winning three of those with birdies. DJ could not make a birdie until he ran off three in a span of four holes through No. 13, but the Swede went him one better by carding four in a row to take a 5-up lead. When Johnson found himself out of position at No. 14, he conceded the hole and the match. 6. Phil Mickelson, United States -- After skipping the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship for the third time in four years, Mickelson is taking another week off, passing on the Honda Classic for the 11th consecutive year. He plans to return next week for the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, and assuming that Brandt Snedeker is recovered from his rib injury, that will be the first time this year that all of the best golfers in the world would be assembled for the same tournament. ... Mickelson never has played at PGA National, with his only appearances in the Honda coming in 1995 at Weston Hills, where he missed the cut, and at TPC Heron Bay, where he tied for 27th in 2001 and tied for 11th the following year. If it's South Florida, he prefers to play at Doral, where he captured the World Golf Championships event by one stroke over Nick Watney in 2009 and finished second, one shot behind Tiger Woods, in the old Ford Championship at Doral in 2005. ... Mickelson played five consecutive weeks on the West Coast Swing and posted the 41st victory of his PGA Tour, and 19th on the West Coast, in the Waste Management Phoenix. He ranked second in the FedEx Cup standings after seven events, but had to be disappointed that he did not play better after generating a lot of excitement among his fans and the media after winning in Phoenix. His best finish other than that was a tie for 21st and he has to hope he's not headed for a repeat of last year, when he won at Pebble Beach and then struggled most of the season. 7. Matt Kuchar, United States -- Reversing a loss in the quarterfinals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship last year, Kuchar never trailed and was in the lead from the fourth hole on in recording a 2-and-1 victory over defending champion Hunter Mahan to win at Dove Mountain. While he has been a top-10 machine the last few years, the knock on Kuchar has been that he does not win enough, but now he has recorded signature victories in each of the last two seasons, also winning the Players Championship last year. ... Kooch grew up in the Sunshine State and has played in the Honda Classic nine times, and won the tournament in 2002, but he is skipping the opener of the Florida Swing this week ahead of the WGC-Cadillac Championship next week at Doral. When he won the Honda 11 years ago, he posted four rounds in the 60s at TPC Heron Bay to beat Brad Faxon and Joey Sindelar by two strokes. Since the tournament moved to PGA National on 2007, his best finish in four appearances was a tie for 17th last year, and he has not finished in the top 35 in his other three outings on the Champion Course. ... Kuchar knocked off Hiroyuki Fujita of Japan, Sergio Garcia of Spain, Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium, Robert Garrigus and Jason Day of Australia en route to his date with Mahan in the final round of the Accenture. He played so well that he never reached the final hole in any of his six matches. Kuchar built a 4-up lead in the final and held off Mahan's rally to win with a conceded birdie on the 17th hole. 8. Justin Rose, England -- Playing for the first time on the PGA Tour this season, Rose never trailed in getting past K.J. Choi in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship before Ryder Cup teammate Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium dispatched him in round two, 4 and 2. The Englishman has gotten past the second round in the tournament only once, when he tied for fifth in 2007. ... Another member of the PGA Tour who lives in the Sunshine State, Rose played in all four events of the Florida Swing, and played so well that he might do it again. He is entered this week in the Honda Classic, in which he played very well in his last two appearances. A year ago, he shared the lead after starting 66-66, but shot 71-70 on the weekend to tie for fifth. In 2010, he played the weekend in 67-64 and finished third, though six shots behind winner Camilo Villegas. Next week, he will defend his title in the WGC-Cadillac Championship, which was the biggest victory of his career. ... Rosy claimed the first hole with a birdie against Colsaerts, but that was his only lead of the day, as his opponent took a 3-up lead after seven holes by winning three consecutive holes, Justin carding bogeys on each. Rose clawed back to within 1 down by winning the ninth with a par and the 11th with an eagle, but Colsaerts finished him off by winning three of the next five to close it out at No. 16. Rose squandered all of a 4-up lead after five holes against Choi, but regrouped to win the 15th with a 23-foot birdie putt and it was over when the Korean drove into the desert two holes later. 9. Adam Scott, Australia -- Coming off a tie for 10th in the Northern Trust Open in his 2013 debut, Scott was knocked out of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in the first round for the fifth time in the last seven years, with Tim Clark doing the deed this time, 2 and 1. The Aussie, who had three top-10 finishes when the tournament was played at La Costa in Southern California, has a 2-7 record since the tournament moved to Arizona in 2007. ... Scott is taking this week off ahead of the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, and it's no surprise since he has played a shorter schedule in the last two seasons and has entered the Honda Classic only three times. In his only appearance at PGA National, he shot 77-82 -- 159 on the Champion Course to miss the cut by a whopping 13 strokes in 2011. Don't expect to see him back any time soon. In the 2001 Honda at TPC Heron Bay, he tied for 11th, but he tied for 65th two years later at Mirasol, despite closing with a 62 that followed a 76. ... Scott came back from an early 2-down deficit last week against Clark and was even after 15 holes, but lost the last two with bogeys. The Aussie took a 1-up lead with one of his three birdies at the 10th hole, but gave it back by taking a double-bogey 6 on the 10th hole and never was able to regain the lead. After four consecutive holes were halved, Clark took advantage of two mistakes by Scott to put him away at No. 17. 10. Lee Westwood, England -- Westwood seemed headed for victory in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, but faded on the back nine before losing on the 19th hole to Rafael Cabrera Bello of Spain. The Englishman had a 3-up lead through 10 holes and needed only a par on the 18th hole to advance, but missed a seven-foot putt and one hole later he was on his way back to his new home in Florida. ... Westwood can sleep in his own bed at home in West Palm Beach the next two weeks, starting with the Honda Classic right down the road at PGA National on Thursday. Last year, he closed with a 7-under-par 63 on the Champion Course to finish fourth, four strokes behind Rory McIlroy. This will be his fifth appearance in the tournament, and he also tied for ninth in 2010, tied for 29th in 2011 and tied for 55th in 2005 at Mirasol. Next week, the drive will be a little longer for the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, but he still can stay at his home at Old Palm Golf Club. ... Westwood was in control early last week at Dove Mountain, but perhaps only because Cabrera Bello carded bogeys on three of the first five holes. The Spaniard played bogey-free golf over the last 14 holes and pulled even by winning the 10th hole with a birdie and Nos. 13 and 14 with pars. Westy regained the lead with a birdie at No. 15, but couldn't close out the match three holes later, and Cabrera Bello advanced by holing a 10-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole. 11. Bubba Watson, United States -- After saying early in the week that he didn't particularly like match play, Bubba beat Chris Wood of England and Jim Furyk in the first two rounds of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship before Jason Day of Australia knocked him off, 4 and 3, in the third round. He finished fourth in his first appearance in the Accenture in 2011, Matt Kuchar beat him in round two last year, 2 and 1. ... Watson is going to take this week off, skipping the Honda Classic, before heading from his home near Orlando for the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral, where he will start his run-up to the defense 6of his Masters title. He has played the Honda only once, opening with a 3-under-par 67 in 2010 at PGA National, but then he carded three consecutive 73s and tied for 56th. Bubba was entered in the 2006 Honda at Mirasol, but he withdrew before the start of the tournament because of personal reasons. ... Watson never led in his third-round match last week in the Accenture, as Day carded six birdies and did not make a bogey in 15 holes. The Aussie had a 3-up lead on the drive-able 15th hole, where Bubba hit his tee shot into a bush and conceded after two futile tries to knock it on the green. In round two, Watson blew a 3-up lead after 10 holes, missing a four-foot putt to win on the 18th green, and had to go 22 holes before winning when Furyk made a bogey. In round one, Watson finished off Wood on the 17th when his approach stopped three feet from the cup for a birdie that halved the hole. 12. Webb Simpson, United States -- The reigning U.S. Open champion, who was eliminated in the first round of his initial appearance in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship last year, beat David Lynn of England, Peter Hanson of Sweden and Gonzalo Fernandez Castano of Spain in the first three rounds this time. Then, defending champion Hunter Mahan eliminated him, 1 up, in a match that was tight all the way in the quarterfinals. ... Having made a big commitment to the West Coast Swing, on which he played six times and made it easier by staying at a family condo in Pasadena, Webb is skipping the Honda Classic for the first time in four years and will return next week for the WGC-Cadillac Championship. He hasn't played great at PGA National, having missed the cut in his first two appearances before tying for 24th last year, so that might have factored into his decision. He has equaled the par of 70 only once in eight rounds on the Champion Course, when he shot 67 in round two last year to make the cut for the first time. ... Simpson never led in his quarterfinal match against Mahan last week in the Accenture, but he also never was more than 1 down. They were all even after Webb got up-and-down for birdie on the par-5 14th, but Mahan two-putted from 56 feet for birdie on the par-4 15th to take the lead for good, and the final three holes were halved. After trouncing Lynn, 5 and 4, Simpson went to the 18th hole to beat Hanson, 1 up, with a 17-foot birdie putt and downed Fernandez Castano, 2 up. 13. Hunter Mahan, United States -- The defending champion of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship seemed to be invincible again by rolling through Matteo Manassero of Italy, Richard Sterne of South Africa, Martin Kaymer of Germany, Webb Simpson and Ian Poulter of England en route to his second consecutive final. However, after winning 11 consecutive matches in the tournament and never trailing since round one in 2012, he fell behind Matt Kuchar early and after a rally on the back nine, went down to a 2-and-1 defeat. ... Hunter is taking a pass on the Honda Classic this week after playing five times on the West Coast Swing, and why not, since he has not fared well in his three appearances in the tournament. He has not played in what now is the first event of the Florida Swing since 2007, when it moved to PGA National, where he shot 71-77 -- 148 and missed the cut by five strokes. He also shot 75-73 -- 148 to miss the cut by four strokes in 2004 at Mirasol, where he tied for 62nd two years later, and he has not broken 70 in the six rounds he has played at the Honda. ... Kuchar, who lost to Mahan in the quarterfinals of the Accenture last year, turned the tables this time in an All-American final at Dove Mountain. Kooch took a 3-up lead when Mahan carded bogeys on three consecutive holes through No. 6 and never trailed. The lead grew to 4-up when Kuchar birdied the eighth hole, but Mahan captured four of seven holes while his opponent claimed only one and the lead was only 1-up. But Mahan drove into a fairway bunker and his approach landed in a bush, so he conceded the 17th hole and the match. 14. Ian Poulter, England -- Once again playing like the match-play ace that he is, Poulter got past Stephen Gallacher of Scotland, Bo Van Pelt, Tim Clark of South Africa and Steve Stricker in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. He trailed only twice in those matches, but never led as Hunter Mahan knocked him off in the semifinals, 4 and 3. In the consolation match, Jason Day of Australia beat him, 1 up. ... Poults lives in the Orlando area, but won't be making the trip to South Florida this week for the Honda Classic, which he has played three times previously. He has not played particularly well at PGA National, with his best result a tie for 37th last year, when he broke the par of 70 for the first time by shooting 67 in the final round while playing on the Champion Course for the first time in four years. He also tied for 41st in 2006 and tied for 46th the following year, and is a cumulative 12-over par in his 12 rounds in the event. ... Poulter, the 2011 Accenture champion who lost in the first round each of the last two years, didn't make the first of his two birdies in the quarterfinals until the 13th hole and Mahan already led, 3 up. The Englishman birdied again two holes later, but so did Hunter, to halve the hole and end the match. Poulter didn't seem to have his usual energy in the consolation match until Day built a 3-up lead after 15 holes. Poults won the next two, but Day holed a nine-foot putt for par on No. 18 to win. 15. Steve Stricker, United States -- For a guy who had not played in six weeks, Stricker performed awfully well in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, beating Henrik Stenson of Sweden, Nick Watney and Scott Piercy before match-play ace Ian Poulter beat him in the quarterfinals, 3 and 2. In his only two events this season, Strick finished second in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and tied for fifth in the Accenture. ... Stricker is sticking with his plan to play fewer tournaments this year and concentrate on the four majors and the three World Golf Championships that are played in the United States, so he is taking a week off ahead of the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral. He didn't figure to play this week in the Honda Classic anyway, as he hasn't played in the tournament since 2007, the first year it was held at PGA National. Strick tied for fifth that year, shooting the par of 70 every day and winding up one stroke out of the Monday playoff in which Mark Wilson beat Boo Weekley, Camilo Villegas and Jose Casares. ... Last week on his 46th birthday in the quarterfinals of the Accenture, Stricker led only when he made a birdie on the first hole, as Poulter built a 4-up lead through 12 holes. In round three, Stricker two-putted from 33 feet on the 17th hole, which actually was No. 8 because they started on the back nine, to pull even with Piercy before holing a 31-foot birdie putt to win on No. 9, 1 up. He carded eight birdies to seven for Piercy and neither made a bogey. Strick also beat Watney on the 21st hole and trounced Stenson, 5 and 4. 16. Jason Dufner, United States -- Even though he showed that he can be a very good match player by posting a 3-1 record in the Ryder Cup last year, Dufner has not had the same type of success in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Richard Sterne of South Africa, who has gotten off to a fast start on the European Tour with a victory and a runner-up finish, bounced the American, 1 up, last week in the first round of the Accenture. Dufner has lost in the opening round in each of his two appearances in the tournament, having lost to Peter Hanson of Sweden a year ago, 2 and 1. ... Duf is playing in the Honda Classic this week for the fourth consecutive season and the sixth time overall. His best result in the event was a tie for ninth in 2009, when he shot 66-68 in the middle rounds. Two years earlier he tied for 13th, but other than that his best finish in the tournament was a tie for 40th in 2010. Last year, even though he was on his way to a career year at the age of 35, he could manage only a tie for 51st, breaking the par of 70 only when he shot 67 in round two just to make the cut after he opened with a 75. ... Sterne held a 4-up lead through 11 holes last week at Dove Mountain before Dufner made it a match by reeling off four birdies in a span of four holes and was only 1 down going to the 17th hole. However, he could not take advantage of Sterne's bogey on the penultimate hole, hitting into a greenside bunker and also making bogey, before both parred the final hole. 17. Ernie Els, South Africa -- Els' belly putter carried him to victory in the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes last year, but when Fredrik Jacobson of Sweden beat him 1-up in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, it was the putter that made the difference. The South African has won the World Match Play Championship a record seven times, but the Accenture is another story, as he has not gotten past the second round since 2009 and has a 12-14 record in the event. ... The Big Easy is playing in the Honda Classic, which has become his hometown event since he moved to Palm Beach Gardens a few years ago, for the sixth consecutive season and the 10th time overall. He posted bookend rounds of 3-under-par 67 to win at PGA National in 2008, finishing one stroke ahead of Luke Donald, another local resident. Els was on the driving range waiting for a possible playoff when Donald, who holed a 35-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole, had his birdie chip on the final hole stop inches from the hole. That ended a four-year winless drought for the big South African in the United States. ... Els had a 2-up lead over Jacobson after six holes last week at Dove Mountain, but the Swede claimed his own 2-up lead by winning four of the next six holes. Ernie got back to even by winning the 13th and 15th holes with birdies, but missed a three-foot putt that would have given him the lead on No. 16 and three-putted from 32 feet to lose the final hole and the match. 18. Louis Oosthuizen, South Africa -- Oosty, seeded first in the Ben Hogan bracket, became the fourth and final top-seeded player to fall in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship when Robert Garrigus beat him, 3 and 2, in the second round. The South African, who beat Richie Ramsay of Scotland in round one, 2 and 1, has failed to get past the second round in his four Accenture appearances. ... Oosthuizen is yet another international player who has made his U.S. base in Palm Beach Gardens, buying a home at Old Palm Golf Club, so he will be making the short trip to PGA National to play this week in the Honda Classic for the third consecutive year. Strangely, he has been forced to withdraw after three rounds in each of his first two appearances in the tournament, because of a cold in 2011 and because of an inner-ear infection last year. Oosty has broken the par 70 on the Champion course only once in six rounds, when he opened with a 67 last year. ... Oosthuizen never led in round two last week against Garrigus, who went 2-up with birdies on the first two holes. Louie did get back to even by winning the next two holes, the only two he took all day, and they remained all square through eight. However, Garrigus took charge by winning three of the next five holes to pull off the upset, carding eight birdies in 16 holes. Against Ramsay in round one, Oosty was 2 down after 11 holes before taking over when he won four in a row. 19. Keegan Bradley, United States -- In one of the tightest matches of the first round in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, unheralded Marcus Fraser of Australia holed a 17-foot birdie putt to claim a 1-up victory over Bradley, who was playing in the event for the second time. Neither player had more than a 1-up lead all day at Dove Mountain. ... Bradley is another player who will have a virtual home game this week, making the short drive from Jupiter to play in the opener of the Florida Swing, the Honda Classic, for the third consecutive year, or every one since he made it to the PGA Tour. He shot 76-71 -- 147 to miss the cut by one stroke in his first appearance at PGA National two years ago, but had a chance to win last year when he opened with rounds of 67-67-68 on the tough Champion Course. However, he stumbled to a closing 3-over-par 73 and wound up in a tie for 12th. That was one in a string of nine top-20 finishes to start his 2012 season. ... Bradley held a 1-up lead in his match last week at the Accenture before Fraser pulled even with a birdie on the 14th hole and took the lead for the final time three holes later. The American had a chance to force extra holes when Fraser failed to hit the green in two at No. 18, but he hit his second shot from a fairway bunker short of the green and into the desert, so the closing hole was halved with bogeys. 20. Zach Johnson, United States -- Johnson had a short stay in Arizona at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, being eliminated by Jason Day of Australia, 6 and 5, in the first round. The American still has never made it past the second round in his nine appearances, and was knocked out in round one for the second consecutive year and the sixth time, dropping his Accenture record to 7-9. ... Zach usually plays three of the four events on the Florida Swing of the PGA Tour, with the Honda Classic the one he generally leaves out, and that's the case again this week. In his only appearance at PGA National, he tied for 30th in 2008, shooting 69-68 in the middle rounds, and he tied for 13th in 2004 at Mirasol, the only other time he teed it up in the Honda. The schedule at zachjohnson.com has him playing the WGC-Cadillac Championship, the Tampa Bay Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational the next three weeks before taking a two-week break ahead of the Masters. ... Johnson didn't have much of a chance against Day, who built a 6-up lead after nine holes, and carded five birdies in the 13-hole match. The Aussie won the first hole with a par before Zach bounced back with a birdie on No. 2 to square the match, but Day took total control by winning six of the next seven holes. Johnson only delayed the inevitable when he holed a five-foot birdie putt at No. 11, but it was over two holes later when Zach missed his 15-foot putt for par and conceded Day's two-footer. Others receiving consideration: Graeme McDowell, Northern Ireland; Martin Kaymer, Germany; Nick Watney, United States; Rickie Fowler, United States; Bill Haas, United States; Charl Schwartzel, South Africa; Sergio Garcia, Spain; Jim Furyk, United States; Carl Pettersson, Sweden; Bo Van Pelt, United States; Peter Hanson, Sweden; Nicolas Colsaerts, Belgium; Ryan Moore, United States; Jason Day, Australia; John Merrick, United States; Charlie Beljan, United States; Charles Howell III, United States; Tim Clark, South Africa.