PGA European - WGC - Accenture Match Play Championship Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Wednesday, February 25th through Sunday, March 1st
SITE: Ritz-Carlton Golf Club (Saguaro/Tortolita Nines), Dove Mountain,
         Marana, Arizona
COURSE ARCHITECT: Jack Nicklaus (2008)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,849
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 460 Yd10 - Par 4 493 Yds
2 - Par 5 574 Yd11 - Par 5 659 Yds
3 - Par 3 208 Yd12 - Par 3 219 Yds
4 - Par 4 393 Yd13 - Par 5 583 Yds
5 - Par 4 536 Yd14 - Par 4 449 Yds
6 - Par 3 185 Yd15 - Par 4 343 Yds
7 - Par 4 486 Yd16 - Par 3 247 Yds
8 - Par 5 576 Yd17 - Par 4 482 Yds
9 - Par 4 476 Yd18 - Par 4 480 Yds
36 3,894 Yd36 3,955 Yds
Annual:  11th
Television:  Golf Channel - Wednesday/Friday -- 2-6 p.m. (et),
  Wednesday -- 7:30-11:30 p.m. (et) - replay,
  Thursday/Friday -- 8:30-11:30 p.m. (et) - replay,
  Saturday -- 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (et),
  Sunday -- 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (et),
  NBC - Saturday/Sunday -- 2-6 p.m. (et)
Defending Champion:  Tiger Woods
Runner-Up:  Stewart Cink
Largest Margin of Victory:  Tiger Woods def. Stephen Ames, 9 & 8 (2006)
Longest Championship Match:  Jeff Maggert def A. Magee, 1-up (38 holes, 1999)
Longest Non-Championship Match:  M.Weir def L.Roberts, 1-up (26 holes, 2003),
  S.Verplank d L.Westwood, 1-up (26 holes, 2006)
Total Purse:  $8,500,000
Shares:  1st Place - $1,400,000; 2nd Place - $850,000; 3rd Place - $600,000;
  4th Place - $490,000; Quarterfinalist - $270,000;
  Third Round - $140,000; Second Round - $95,000; First Round - $45,000
2008 Finish
Tiger WoodsWonWoody AustinT-5
Stewart Cink2ndAngel CabreraT-5
Henrik Stenson3rdK.J. ChoiT-5
Justin Leonard4thEight players tied atT-9
Vijay SinghT-5
Past WGC - Accenture World Match Play Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2008Tiger Woods (8&7) -- Stewart Cink
2007Henrik Stenson (2&1) -- Geoff Ogilvy
2006Geoff Ogilvy (3&2) -- Davis Love III
2005David Toms (6&5) -- Chris DiMarco
2004Tiger Woods (3&2) -- Davis Love III
2003Tiger Woods (2&1) -- David Toms
2002Kevin Sutherland (1-up) -- Scott McCarron
2001Steve Stricker (2&1) -- Pierre Fulke
2000Darren Clarke (4&3) -- Tiger Woods
1999Jeff Maggert (1-up, 38 holes) -- Andrew Magee

Top Contenders in the Field
Tiger Woods (1)Rup---1stWONWON2nd3rd3rdWON31-6
Stewart Cink (22)1st1st1st---2ndQF1st3rdRup13-9
H. Stenson (6)------------------2ndWONSF12-2
J. Leonard (28)2nd3rd1st2nd1st1st1st---SF9-1
Vijay Singh (5)1st2nd2nd---2nd2nd3rd2ndQF11-9
K.J. Choi (20)---------2nd1st1st1st2ndQF5-6
Angel Cabrera (55)1st---1st2nd---2nd2nd1stQF6-7
Paul Casey (23)---------1st1st1st1stQF3rd5-6
A. Baddeley (43)---------------------3rd3rd4-2
Rod Pampling (56)---------------1st1st2nd3rd3-4
S. Appleby (46)1st3rd1st1st2nd2nd1st1st3rd6-1
S. Stricker (13)2ndWON1st------------1st3rd8-6
Boo Weekley (51)------------------------3rd2-1
T. Immelman (26)---------1st2nd1st---SF2nd7-5
Ian Poulter (34)------------QFSF1st3rd2nd10-6
P. Harrington (4)1st1st1st2ndQF2ndQF2nd2nd10-9
Phil Mickelson (3)1st---1st3rdQF3rd3rd2nd2nd13-9
Luke Donald (31)---------------3rd3rd2nd2nd6-4
Sergio Garcia (2)3rd---3rd1st1st3rd---2nd2nd8-7
Adam Scott (18)------2ndSF3rdQF2nd1st2nd13-7
Lee Westwood (12)2nd---2nd---1st2nd1st1st2nd4-8
Hunter Mahan (48)------------------------2nd1-1
Andres Romero (32)------------------------2nd1-1
Geoff Ogilvy (8)------------------WONRup1st11-2
Stephen Ames (42)---------------1st1stQF1st3-4
Justin Rose (16)---------2nd1st------QF1st4-4
Retief Goosen (36)2nd2nd2nd1st1stSFQF2nd1st12-9
R. Sabbatini (37)------1st------3rd1st2nd1st3-5
Jim Furyk (15)3rd---3rd3rd---1st1st2nd1st7-8
Tim Clark (33)---------1st---1st1st2nd1st1-5
Zach Johnson (27)---------------1stSF1st1st5-4
Mike Weir (19)2nd---2nd2nd2nd1st3rd1st1st6-8
S. Katayama (41)------1st1st1st1st3rd1st1st2-7
R. Allenby (30)---2nd1st3rd2ndQF2nd1st1st8-8
M.A. Jimenez (24)------------1st2nd2nd1st1st2-5
Ernie Els (14)2ndSF2nd1st------1st1st1st7-8
R. Karlsson (7)---------1st---------1st1st0-3
Anders Hansen (49)---------1st------------1st0-2
Soren Hansen (53)------------------------1st0-1
Peter Hanson (60)------------------------1st0-1
Brendan Jones (64)------------------------1st0-1
Martin Kaymer (21)------------------------1st0-1
Pat Perez (62)------------------------1st0-1
R. Sterne (44)------------------------1st0-1
C. Villegas (10)------------------------1st0-1
Davis Love III(58)SF---2nd2ndRup3rdRup1st---18-9
Jeev M. Singh (35)---------------------1st---0-1
Sean O'Hair (50)------------------2nd------1-1
Kenny Perry (9)---1st1st1st3rd2nd1st------3-6
G. McDowell (39)---------------2nd1st------1-2
Ben Curtis (29)------------2nd------------1-1
K. Sutherland (56)---1stWON3rd---------------8-3
Ross Fisher (38)---------------------------0-0
Matthew Goggin(59)---------------------------0-0
Dustin Johnson(40)---------------------------0-0
Anthony Kim (11)---------------------------0-0
Soren Kjeldsen(61)---------------------------0-0
P. Marksaeng (52)---------------------------0-0
Rory McIlroy (17)---------------------------0-0
L. Oosthuizen (47)---------------------------0-0
Alvaro Quiros (25)---------------------------0-0
C. Schwartzel (63)---------------------------0-0
Lin Wen-Tang (54)---------------------------0-0
Oliver Wilson (45)---------------------------0-0
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Tiger Woods and Henrik Stenson
Darkhorse - Paul Casey and Dustin Johnson
Last Week's Pick to Win - PGA (Kenny Perry) - Finished tied for 17th
Last Week's Darkhorse - PGA (Shigeki Maruyama) - Missed the cut
Last Week's Pick to Win - Europe (Anthony Wall) - Finished tied for 36th
Last Week's Darkhorse - Europe (Alexander Noren) - Finished tied for 31st
The best players in the world are in action this week as the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship gets under way. Every player currently ranked in the top-64 of the world rankings is playing this week, including world number one Tiger Woods, who is back after an eight-month layoff due to knee surgery. Woods has not played since winning the U.S. Open in a thrilling playoff over Rocco Mediate last June. You'll be hard-pressed to find a better match-play competitor in this century than three-time champion Woods. The 33-year-old superstar won three consecutive U.S. Junior titles, then three straight U.S. Amateur crowns, and now will be seeking his fourth overall World Match Play trophy. Woods is 31-6 all-time at this event, winning in 2003-04 and 2008, and losing in the finals to Darren Clarke in 2000. Woods is the only player to win this event more than once.

Last year, Woods hammered Stewart Cink, 8 & 7, in the championship match to win the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at The Gallery Golf Club at Dove Mountain in record fashion. That score established a new mark for largest margin of victory in a final, topping David Toms' 6 & 5 win over Chris DiMarco in 2005. Woods owns the largest margin of victory in any match, pummeling Stephen Ames, 9 & 8, in the first round in 2006. The win was Woods' 15th at a World Golf Championships event.

In 2007, Henrik Stenson ended Geoff Ogilvy's chances of repeating when he knocked off the defending champion, 2 & 1, in the 36-hole final of the WGC- Accenture Match Play Championship. Ogilvy had a chance to join Woods as the only players to successfully defend his title at this event.

In 2006, Ogilvy collected his second victory on the PGA Tour, when he toppled Davis Love III, 3 & 2, in the 36-hole final of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Ogilvy would later go on to win the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot for his first major title. Ogilvy played a total of 129 holes at this event in 2006, the most by anyone in the history of the event. His first four matches went to extra holes. Ogilvy joined Craig Parry as the only Australians to win a WGC event, as Parry won the 2002 NEC Invitational. Ogilvy, along with Jeff Maggert, are the only players to have perfect 6-0 starts at this event, as Maggert captured the inaugural championship in 1999.

Toms was beaten by Woods in the 2003 final, but 2004 was his time to shine. Toms, who is second only to Woods in career matches won at this event with 23, destroyed fellow American DiMarco, 6 & 5, in the final to capture the WGC- Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa Resort & Spa.

This event features the top-64 available players directly from the Official World Golf Ranking released on Monday, February 16, 2009. The field is broken down with 17 Americans and 47 international players, with 12 golfers competing for the first time at this event. The lowest-ranked player in the field is Brendan Jones of Australia, currently ranked 64th in the world. There are 19 countries represented in the field, with Australia and South Africa leading the international contingent with 8 players each.

With his win in 2003, Woods became the first player to complete a career sweep of World Golf Championship events. His total of wins in these three elite events now stands at 15 and he has earned a whopping $20,825,833 in all. In nine starts at this event, Woods has three wins and seven top-10s along with $4,617,500 in earnings. Woods has competed in almost every event since its inception (he did not play in 2001) and has been a No. 1 seed every year except in 2005 when he was seeded second.

The most consecutive matches won in Accenture Match Play Championship history is 13 by Woods (2003-05). Woods' streak of 13 consecutive victories ended with his 3 & 1 loss to Nick O'Hern in the second round in 2005. Ogilvy, the 2006 champion, won 11 consecutive matches before losing to Stenson in the 2007 final.

American Kevin Sutherland, seeded 62nd in 2002, became the lowest-ranked player ever to win this event, when he defeated Scott McCarron of the U.S., 1- up. Woods lost his opening round match in 2002 to Peter O'Malley, who was seeded 64th, the biggest upset in event history.

This will be the first year that The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona will host the event. The Jack Nicklaus-designed course opened for play in January of this year. The Gallery Golf Club at Dove Mountain's South Course hosted the event the previous two years. La Costa Resort and Spa had hosted this event seven times, while the 2001 tournament was staged at The Metropolitan Club in Australia. The purse increased $500,000 from last year to $8.5 million, with the winner receiving $1.4 million.

There will be 32 first-round matches on Wednesday, followed by 16 second-round matches on Thursday, eight third-round matches on Friday, with the quarterfinals and semifinals on Saturday. The championship match will be a 36- hole final on Sunday, which will also include an 18-hole consolation match. All prize money will be considered "official money" on each player's home Tour, with some players' money counting for more than one Tour.

The No. 1 seed owns a 35-8 overall record, while the No. 64 is just 1-10. The leader after the first 18 holes in the championship match has gone on to win the event seven times. Only Andrew Magee (1999), Scott McCarron (2002) and Davis Love III (2004) have bucked that trend.

This is technically the 14th Match Play Championship. Previously, the event was a year-long tournament with four brackets and 32 players in a single- elimination match-play format. Barry Lane won the first event in 1996, defeating David Frost in the final. Greg Norman captured the 1997 event with a 1-up win over Scott Hoch, and Colin Montgomerie knocked off Love in 1998 prior to the format change. This event is co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour, European Tour, Asian PGA, Japan Golf Tour, PGA Tour of Australia and South African Tour.

The World Golf Championships are a series of events launched in February 1999 that feature the game's top players competing against one another in a variety of competitive formats. The events are the Accenture Match Play Championship, CA Championship and Bridgestone Invitational. They have $8.5 million U.S. purses and $1,400,000 U.S. first prizes. Along with the winner's check for the Accenture Match Play Championship, the victor receives the Walter Hagen Cup. The World Cup was part of the World Golf Championships from 2000-2006. The World Cup is no longer a WGC event, but continues to be sanctioned by the International Federation of PGA Tours.

This year's four brackets will once again be named after four of the greatest names in golf: Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones, Gary Player and Sam Snead. In 2008, 19 of the 32 first-round matches were won by the higher seed. In 2007, 21 of the 32 first-round matches were won by the higher seed. In 2005 and 2006, 19 of the 32 first-round matches were won by the higher seed. In 2003 and again in 2004, 20 of the 32 first-round matches were won by the higher seed. In 1999, only 14 of the 32 were captured by the higher seed.

Stuart Appleby is the only player who has participated in all 10 Match Play Championships. Appleby is expected to compete in his 11th this year. Appleby is competing in his 30th career World Golf Championships event this week, having played in every WGC event since the inception of the series in 1999.

There have been only two holes-in-one in tournament history. The first coming in 2002, when Scott McCarron aced the 14th hole at La Costa and the second in 2006, when Ben Crane made a hole-in-one on the 16th at La Costa.

The PGA Tour moves to the "Sunshine State" next week for the first of four straight weeks in Florida. First up is the Honda Classic, where Ernie Els captured his first PGA Tour title since 2004 last year. The European Tour moves to Florida in two weeks for the WGC-CA Championship, as Geoff Ogilvy defends his title.

02/24 16:15:43 ET

As of February 24, 2009, at 04:16 PM ET
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