Tiger v Rory

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Dave Tindall
Tiger Woods stunned the sporting world, completing victory in the 2019 Masters, his 15th major championship win and first since 2008.
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Fate of the Top Eight

Dustin Johnson (1-2-0) – There were some hot bursts of scoring at Austin CC today but DJ couldn't build enough momentum and slumped to a second straight defeat, losing this one 4-and-2 to Hideki Matsuyama. A forgettable week for the World No. 1.

Justin Rose (2-0-1) – Had to beat Gary Woodland to advance and kept his nerve to do so. Took the lead for the second time at 10 and never relinquished it, seeing off his opponent 1-up.

Brooks Koepka (0-2-1) – Can't blame the course as he topped his group for the last two years, winning five of six matches. But after a 3-and-2 loss to Alex Noren today, he departs this week without a single victory and struggling for form. Noren later lost a playoff to HaoTong Li.

Rory McIlroy (3-3-0) – Rounded off a perfect group record with a commanding 4-and-2 victory over Matthew Fitzpatrick. Through six birdies at his opponent, who shook hands walking up 16. Next up... Tiger in the last 16!

Justin Thomas (1-1-1) – Played the first 13 holes in 6-under via four birdies and an eagle to be 3-up with five to play but halved with Keegan Bradley after a late wobble. Finishes runner-up to 50-seed Lucas Bjerregaard in Group 5.

Bryson DeChambeau (1-2-0) – With birdies flying elsewhere, DeChambeau made three front-nine bogeys and found himself 5-down at the turn against Marc Leishman. The Aussie completed a perfect 3-0-0 group record at 14, taking victory 5-and-4.

Francesco Molinari (3-0-0) – Not quite as good today but still had enough in the tank to see off Webb Simpson 2-and-1 and complete a 100% record in Group 7.

Jon Rahm (1-1-1) – Had to win and threw everything at Matt Kuchar down the stretch, making five birdies in six holes to go 1-up with one to play. Trouble was, Kooch birdied four of the last five himself. Fantastic match but Rahm goes out and Kuchar wins the group.

Revised outright betting: 4/1 McIlroy, 17/2 Molinari, 10/1 Rose, 11/1 Casey, 12/1 Stenson, 14/1 Oosthuizen, Garcia, 16/1 Leishman, Kuchar, Woods, 18/1 Kisner, 20/1 Grace, 22/1 Hatton, 28/1 Li, 30/1 Na, 33/1 Bjerregaard.

Notable Results:

Tiger Woods – Woods needed help today and he got it. Tiger kept his end of the bargain by beating Patrick Cantlay 4-and-2 (Woods played 11-16 in 6-under) and secured top spot and his showdown with Rory as Aaron Wise smashed Brandt Snedeker (Woods' conqueror yesterday) 6-and-4.

J.B. Holmes – Took down Jon Rahm yesterday and hammered Si Woo Kim 6-and-4 today but the 3-and-1 defeat to Matt Kuchar (3-0-0) on day one ultimately decided Group 8.

Henrik Stenson – A straight shootout with Jim Furyk for Group 12 but Stenson won the battle of the 40-somethings in style, pouring in seven birdies over his first 13 holes on the way to a decisive 5-and-4 victory. Stenson is looking dangerous.

Tyrrell Hatton – Topped his group for the second year running after ousting fellow Englishman Lee Westwood 3-and-1. At least Westy had a hole-in-one at 11.

Patrick Reed – Reed was already out but playing Ryder Cup legend Sergio Garcia was red rag to a bull and just what the Masters champ needed to get him out of his slump. Captain America responded with a 2-and-1 win although Sergio's two victories on Thursday and Friday secured the Spaniard's passage to the last 16.

Shane Lowry – A 3-and-2 victory stopped Andrew Putnam challenging Sergio for top spot but, from his own point of view, this was a massive win for Lowry as it secured his place in the world's top 50 and punched his ticket for Augusta National.

Louis Oosthuizen – The sweet-swinging South African made the final here three years ago and is into the knockout phase again thanks to this 4-and-3 win over 11-seed Tommy Fleetwood. Check Oosthuizen's card - six birdies and an eagle in eight holes from the 6th.

Kevin Kisner – Group 14 had plenty of drama today. First, Kisner took out Keith Mitchell 2-and-1 and then beat Ian Poulter in a playoff. Poulter, who had earlier won a tense battle with Tony Finau, beat Kisner in round one. That's the format for you though.

Record of the 16 group winners

3-0-0 - Branden Grace, Rory McIlroy, Marc Leishman, Francesco Molinari, Henrik Stenson

2-0-1 - Lucas Bjerregaard, Matt Kuchar, Tyrrell Hatton, Paul Casey, Justin Rose

2-1-0 - HaoTong Li*, Louis Oosthuizen, Tiger Woods, Kevin Kisner*, Kevin Na, Sergio Garcia

* won playoff

Notes: Eight Europeans (six from the winning team at the last Ryder Cup), four Americans and four Internationals made it through. That's the most Euros into the last 16 in the tournament's history.

Last 16 matches

Branden Grace (40) v Sergio Garcia (26)
Matt Kuchar (23) v Tyrrell Hatton (35)
Rory McIlroy (4) v Tiger Woods (13)
Lucas Bjerregaard (50) v Henrik Stenson (37)
Justin Rose (2) v Kevin Na (57)
Francesco Molinari (7) v Paul Casey (10)
HaoTong Li (36) v Kevin Kisner (48)
Marc Leishman (17) v Louis Oosthuizen (19)

Saturday weather forecast

Another cloudy day and temperatures struggling to climb into the 70s. Winds look light for the last-16 morning matches but could really gust (15mph and more) in the afternoon for the quarterfinals. There's a chance of a spot of rain too.

Quotes

Rory McIlroy – "I feel like pretty much all of this year it’s been close to what I would think is some of my best golf. I feel comfortable with my game off the tee, I’m driving it as good as I ever have, I’ve tidied up my iron play since last year, I’ve found something with the putter which I’m sort of going with and it’s feeling really good."

Tiger Woods – "I’ve had fun all three matches. Unfortunately, yesterday didn’t really pan out how I wanted it. I’m thankful for the format because I’d be going home yesterday. I get a chance to play tomorrow morning. This golf course is tricky. There’s so many moving parts on this golf course. These pins are probably half a step harder than they would be in strokeplay.”

Tyrrell Hatton – "I'm really happy to get through. I've been struggling with my game since the start of the season and obviously this helps with a bit of confidence. Last week in Tampa to shoot 81 and miss the cut, that was an experience."

Matt Kuchar – "Helluva battle with Jon today. I knew I was going to be in for a tough fight. Man, those last five holes, what a battle."

Sergio Garcia – "I felt like I played well. I didn't play as well as I did the first two days but you've got to give credit to Patrick, he birdied five of the last eight."

Louis Oosthuizen – "Early on I found something in my putting stroke that I've been looking for the first two days, I didn't have that spark in the putter. Started rolling it good and started reading it better. I felt for Tommy as I was making everything."

Francesco Molinari – "I'm starting to like it (match play) a bit more than the first 12 years of my career when I couldn't seem able to win a match."

Road to Victory at Austin CC – the group stages

Jason Day, 2016 – Won all three groups matches (3-and-2, 5-and-3, concession)

Dustin Johnson, 2017 – Won all three group matches (5-and-3, 3-and-2, 5-and-3)

Bubba Watson, 2018 – Won his first two matches (5-and-3, 3-and-2), halved his third

Focus on – Tiger v Rory

McIlroy: “I think it’s really exciting for the tournament. It’s exciting for both of us, I’m definitely excited and I’m sure he is as well. I didn’t put up much of a fight in Atlanta last year in the Tour Championship so hopefully I can give him a better game tomorrow.” That was a reference to Tiger outscoring Rory by three (71 to 74) but how about their overall record?

The two have shared the stage 25 times and so far Woods leads the series 12-9 with four ties. Tiger came out top in nine of the first 12 and has also won three of the last four. However, those on Team McIlroy may recall the last head-to-head at Riviera in mid-February. Tiger was solid enough with a 71 in round two but McIlroy outscored him by eight shots, bursting into contention with a 63.

Tiger’s view? “We’ve played tournaments together and battled each other down the stretch in an event but never in a match play situation so this’ll be fun.”

Thomas Bjorn summed up the expectation rather nicely on Twitter: “Might have to watch golf tomorrow….. The two most talented golfers I’ve ever played with go head to head. @TigerWoods v @McIlroyRoy

Focus on – Seedings

An update on the record we looked at in yesterday's Roundup...

2016: Matches won by higher seed 58%, by lower seed 27%, tied 15%
2017: Matches won by higher seed 52%, by lower seed 39%, tied 9%
2018: Matches won by higher seed 46%, by lower seed 43%, tied 11%

The win rate dropped to just 46% last year so what are we seeing so far in 2019?

2019

Round 1: Matches won by higher seed 50%, by lower seed 41%, tied 9%
Round 2: Matches won by higher seed 34%, by lower seed 38%, tied 28%
Round 3: Matches won by higher seed 44%, by lower seed 50%, tied 6%

Overall: Matches won by higher seed 43%, by lower seed 43%, tied 14%

Notes: Lower seeds won just as many matches as higher seeds in the group phase - 43 each.