After one round of the Accenture Match Play event, the defending champion is out. Luke Donald, the No. 1-ranked golfer in the world, fell to former major champion Ernie Els in the first round of the event. It wasn't even that close. Donald lost 5 and 4 against Els. After winning the money title on the PGA and European tours in 2011, Donald is off to a tough start so far this year. If he is going to start his march to a major title in 2012 this wasn't the best way to do it.
Donald should have been weary of the upset. At least one top seed has lost in the first round at this event every year since 2006. Still, most people expected him to roll to the semifinals. He is one of the top match play golfers in the world. This was easily one of the most surprising results in recent memory at this tournament. I was hoping for something huge from Donald again in 2012. So far he looks very ordinary. He is going to have to shake this loss off and get things going in the next month. The next big test for him won't come until the Masters in April.
Donald was the biggest upset victim but not the only one. Adam Scott and Webb Simpson each lost as 2-seeds. Graeme McDowell and Bill Haas were bounced as 3-seeds. Sergio Garcia and K.J. Choi each lost as 4-seeds. Those are some names that people thought might make a run. That won't happen now.
One golfer that won't be dealing with the fallout of an upset is Tiger Woods. He had an impressive comeback win over Gonzalo Fernandez Castano. Woods joined Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, and Brandt Snedeker as 5-seeds to move on to the second round. That turned out to be best seed of the day.
Despite all of the upsets there are some great matches to watch in the second round. Woods taking on Nick Watney and Watson battling Matt Kuchar are two matches that excite me the most. Other ones to watch include David Toms against Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood against Robert Karlsson, and Miguel Angel Jimenez against Keegan Bradley. Bradley knocked off two-time champion Geoff Ogilvy in the first round. He might be one to watch the rest of the way.* - Mark Paul is an avid golf fan. Follow him on Twitter here.
- Luke Donald
- Ernie Els