Posted: 01 March 2011 at 12:11am | IP Logged
Another failure at the Accenture World Match Play.
His erratic driving was a bit of problem. Anyway it was won by someone who had not won for 5 years, and he truly deserved it, Mr. Luke Donald of England.
He is one of my favourites too.
For only the second time in tournament history, Tiger Woods did not survive the first round of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. Seeded No. 1 in the Sam Snead Bracket and third overall, Woods lost to No. 16 Thomas Bjrn of Denmark on the 19th hole Wednesday afternoon at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Marana, Ariz.
Woods, the only three-time winner of the event, previously lost a first-round match, 1 down, to Peter O'Malley in 2002.
"Disappointed," a dejected Woods said afterward, when asked to describe his mood. "Very disappointed. I had all the momentum going to the 19th hole, and I blew it."
Woods trailed 1 down going to the par-4 18th hole in the back-and-forth match that saw only six holes halved, but drilled an eight-foot birdie putt to force sudden death. Returning to the par-4 first hole, Woods blocked a 3-wood into the desert and prickly sagebrush on the right, failed to get his second shot back to the fairway and eventually made a double bogey, conceding Bjrn a par putt and victory.
"It's easy to put the ball in the fairway, and I couldn't even do that," Woods said.
Bjrn comforted Woods for several moments following the match. Asked what he said, Woods replied, "Thomas is one of my good friends. He was saying some awfully nice words. He's just a class act."
Bjrn, who has had more than his share of ups and downs in professional golf, thinks Woods should be encouraged in only his third start of the season.
"He's not playing his absolute best," Bjrn said. "But there were a lot of good swings today. The driver was a lot better than it's been. He's taking strides. There's a way back for him, and he'll get there."
The start of the match was also delayed three times by matches that went to sudden death, which were given priority on the first tee. While Woods didn't use it as an excuse, he started poorly and played catch-up much of the day.
Typical of how the day went for Woods, Bjrn drove into trouble on the first hole, punched out, stiffed a long third shot for a gimme par and won the hole when Woods missed the green long with his approach and failed to get up and down.
Woods won the par-5 second hole by blasting his third shot from a greenside bunker to within 10 feet and made the putt. But he hit a poor 6-iron into the water at the 199-yard, par-3 third and gave away the hole by making double bogey.
After halving the fourth hole with pars, Woods bogeyed the fifth hole to fall 2 down. Bjrn helped out Woods by failing to escape from a greenside bunker at the 175-yard, par-3 sixth, and his lead was trimmed to 1 up. That's how it stood until the par-5 eighth, when Bjrn got up and down from a greenside bunker for birdie and Woods couldn't match him, as his five-foot putt attempt took a big hop after apparently hitting a bump in the green.
Woods battled back, making an eight-foot birdie putt at the par-4 ninth, and trailed 1 down at the turn.
At the par-4 10th hole, Woods pulled even with a conceded 10-foot birdie putt after Bjrn found a fairway bunker, came up short of the green in two and chipped well past the hole. Woods won the par-5 11th hole to take his first lead in the match. He then made a clutch 15-foot par putt to salvage a halve at the par-3 12th after blocking his tee shot way right.
Bjrn won the par-5 13th with a nice up-and-down birdie from the left greenside bunker to even the match. Woods hit a poor chip for his third shot and was unable to convert a long birdie attempt.
The 14th hole was halved with pars before Bjrn regained a 1-up cushion by winning the 324-yard, par-4 15th hole in one of the key holes of the match. Woods hit driver and caught a bad break when the ball landed on the green and curved to the right, settling into a chipping area. Woods was unable to get up and down, but Bjrn hit a great chip one foot from the cup and won the hole.
"Tiger hit such a good shot and got a bit unlucky bounce," Bjrn said.
The next two holes were halved with pars, with Woods just missing a 10-foot birdie try at the par-4 17th.
"That's a putt I should make every time," he said.
Overall, Woods was pleased with his ball-striking. He wasn't happy about two poor pitch shots on the back nine.
"Atrocious," Woods said.