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

DATES: Wednesday, April 29th through Sunday, May 3rd
SITE: TPC Harding Park, San Francisco, California
COURSE ARCHITECT: Sam Whiting and Willie Watson (1925)
PAR: 71
YARDAGE: 7,127
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 5 562 Yd10 - Par 4 467 Yds
2 - Par 3 200 Yd11 - Par 4 405 Yds
3 - Par 4 480 Yd12 - Par 4 336 Yds
4 - Par 4 428 Yd13 - Par 3 175 Yds
5 - Par 5 606 Yd14 - Par 4 440 Yds
6 - Par 4 429 Yd15 - Par 4 395 Yds
7 - Par 4 473 Yd16 - Par 4 344 Yds
8 - Par 4 449 Yd17 - Par 3 230 Yds
9 - Par 3 183 Yd18 - Par 5 525 Yds
36 3,810 Yd35 3,317 Yds
Annual:  17th
Television:  Golf Channel - Wednesday/Thursday -- 4-10 p.m. (et)
  - Friday -- 5-10 p.m. (et),
  - Saturday -- 3-7:30 p.m. (et),
  NBC - Saturday -- 7:30-11 p.m. (et),
  Golf Channel - Sunday -- 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (et)
  NBC - Sunday -- 2-6 p.m. (et),
Defending Champion:  Jason Day
Runner-Up:  Victor Dubuisson
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:  $9,250,000
Shares:  1st Place - $1,570,000; 2nd Place - $930,000; 3rd Place - $646,000;
  4th Place - 520,000; Quarterfinalist - 285,000; Round of 16 - 150,000
2014 Finish
Jason DayWonJim FurykT-5
Victor Dubuisson2ndJordan SpiethT-5
Rickie Fowler3rdGraeme McDowellT-5
Ernie Els4thEight players tied atT-9
Louis OosthuizenT-5
Past WGC - Cadillac Match Play Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2014Jason Day (1-up, 23 holes) -- Victor Dubuisson
2013Matt Kuchar (2&1) -- Hunter Mahan
2012Hunter Mahan (2&1) -- Rory McIlroy
2011Luke Donald (3&2) -- Martin Kaymer
2010Ian Poulter (4&2) -- Paul Casey
2009Geoff Ogilvy (4&3) -- Paul Casey
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
Note:Formerly called WGC - Accenture Match Play Championship (1999-2014).

Top Contenders in the Field
Jason Day---------------3rd2ndSFWON14-3
V. Dubuisson------------------------Rup5-1
Rickie Fowler---------------3rd1st1stSF7-4
G. McDowell1st------1st1st3rd1stQFQF9-8
L. Oosthuizen---------1st---1st2nd2ndQF5-5
Jim Furyk1st2nd1st3rd2nd1st1st2ndQF14-1
Jordan Spieth------------------------QF3-1
Matt Kuchar------------2ndSFQFWON3rd17-4
Hunter Mahan------2nd2nd1st3rdWONRup3rd17-6
Webb Simpson------------------1stQF3rd5-3
Bubba Watson---------------SF2nd3rd3rd9-5
Sergio Garcia---2nd2nd1stSF---1st2nd3rd15-1
G. Coetzee------------------1st1st3rd2-3
Jason Dufner------------------1st1st3rd2-3
H. English------------------------3rd2-1
Justin Rose---QF1st1st---2nd1st2nd2nd7-9
Rory McIlroy---------QF2nd2ndRup1st2nd11-6
C. Schwartzel---------2nd3rd2nd2nd1st2nd6-6
Bill Haas---------------1st1st1st2nd1-4
Ryan Moore------------1stQF---1st2nd4-4
H. Stenson2ndWONSF1st1st1st---1st2nd13-7
B. Snedeker------1st---------3rd---2nd3-3
B. Horschel------------------------2nd1-1
H. Matsuyama------------------------2nd1-1
Patrick Reed------------------------2nd1-1
Jimmy Walker------------------------2nd1-1
Ian Poulter1st3rd2nd3rdWON1st1stSF1st22-1
Martin Kaymer------1st2nd2ndRup3rd3rd1st11-7
Lee Westwood1st1st2nd2nd2nd2ndSF1st1st11-1
D. Johnson---------1st1st1st3rd1st1st2-6
F. Molinari------------1st1st2nd1st1st1-5
K. Bradley------------------2nd1st1st1-3
Zach JohnsonSF1st1st2nd2nd1st1st1st1st7-1
T. Jaidee------------QF------1st1st3-3
J. Donaldson---------------------1st1st0-2
S. Gallacher---------------------1st1st0-2
Branden Grace---------------------1st1st0-2
M.A. Jimenez2nd1st1st2nd1stQF3rd---1st11-1
Gary Woodland------------------1st---1st0-2
Mikko Ilonen------------------------1st0-1
Chris Kirk------------------------1st0-1
Marc Leishman------------------------1st0-1
Joost Luiten------------------------1st0-1
B. Wiesberger------------------------1st0-1
Shane Lowry---------------------3rd---2-1
Russell Henley---------------------2nd---1-1
John Senden------1st---------3rd1st---2-3
Adam Scott2nd1st2nd1st2nd1st1st1st---14-1
Kevin Na------------1st---1st------0-2
J.B. Holmes------1st------QF---------3-2
Paul Casey1stQF3rdRupRup2nd---------16-9
Ryan Palmer---------------2nd---------1-1
Charley Hoffman---------------1st---------0-1
Matt Every---------------------------0-0
Tommy Fleetwood---------------------------0-0
Matt Jones---------------------------0-0
Brooks Koepka---------------------------0-0
Anirban Lahiri---------------------------0-0
Alexander Levy---------------------------0-0
Ben Martin---------------------------0-0
Andy Sullivan---------------------------0-0
Brendon Todd---------------------------0-0
Marc Warren---------------------------0-0
Danny Willett---------------------------0-0
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Jordan Spieth
Darkhorse - Paul Casey
Last Week's Pick to Win - PGA (Dustin Johnson) - Finished tied for 43rd
Last Week's Darkhorse - PGA (Morgan Hoffmann) - Finished tied for 36th
Last Week's Pick to Win - Europe (Tommy Fleetwood) - Missed the cut
Last Week's Darkhorse - Europe (Hae Tong Li) - Finished 6th
The best players in the world are in action this week as the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship gets under way. Phil Mickelson, Luke Donald and Tim Clark are the only players that qualified for this event that are not playing. Mickelson is not playing due to personal reasons; Donald is attending his brother's wedding; and Clark is recovering from an elbow injury.

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 purse increased $250,000 from last year to $9.25 million, with the winner receiving $1.57 million.

The format has changed this year, with the field divided into 16 four-player groups. Each group will play round-robin matches within their group on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The player with the best record in each group advances to the round of 16 for single-elimination match play. All matches are played to conclusions with no halved matches. If there is a 2-way tie in a group, head-to-head results will be used as the tiebreaker. If there is a 3- way tie, there will be a sudden-death playoff. The round of 16 will be played Saturday morning and the quarterfinals will be played Saturday afternoon. The semifinals will be Sunday morning, with the championship match and consolation match being played Sunday afternoon.

This is the first year that TPC Harding park in San Francisco, California will host the tournament. The Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Arizona hosted the previous six years. The Gallery Golf Club at Dove Mountain's South Course hosted in 2007-08. La Costa Resort and Spa had hosted seven times, while the 2001 tournament was staged at The Metropolitan Club in Australia.

This event features the top-64 available players directly from the Official World Golf Ranking released on Monday, April 20, 2015. The field is broken down with 30 Americans and 34 international players, with 11 golfers competing for the first time. The lowest-ranked player in the field is Francesco Molinari, who is currently ranked 70th in the world. There are 18 countries represented in the field, with England leading the international contingent with seven players.

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 Cadillac Championship, Cadillac Match Play Championship, Bridgestone Invitational and HSBC Champions. They have $9.25 million U.S. purses and $1,570,000 U.S. first prizes. Along with the winner's check for the Cadillac 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. The HSBC Champions became a WGC event in 2009.

Last year, Victor Dubuisson made a pair of remarkable par saves in extra holes, but it was Jason Day's routine up and down birdie on the 23rd hole that gave the Australian a 1-up victory in the championship match. Day never trailed in the final, but Dubuisson showed plenty of mettle as he fought back from a 3-down deficit to force extra holes. Dubuisson made two extraordinary shots to keep the match going. The Frenchman got up and down from a cholla bush on the 19th hole to extend the match. Dubuisson again was in the desert on the 20th hole. He blasted his ball from under a twig to six feet and he drained that putt to stay alive. It was Day's second PGA Tour title, and first World Golf Championship victory.

In 2013, Matt Kuchar never trailed in the final match en route to a 2 & 1 victory over 2012 champion Hunter Mahan. Kuchar, who lost to Mahan 6 & 5 in the quarterfinals in 2012, trailed for just three holes the entire week. The win was his first WGC title and his fifth PGA Tour victory in all.

In 2011, Luke Donald defeated Martin Kaymer, 3 & 2, in the final. Donald never trailed in any of his matches all week and didn't play the 18th hole once. The win was Donald's third on the PGA Tour, but first since the 2006 Honda Classic. The win was the start of a career year for Donald, who went on to win four times worldwide and ascended to the No. 1 ranking in the world. Donald joined Tiger Woods (2003) as the only players to win the title and not have any of their six matches reach the 18th hole. Donald broke the record for fewest holes played (73) to advance to the finals. Woods held the previous record at 77 (2003).

In 2010, Ian Poulter defeated fellow Englishman Paul Casey, 4 & 2, in the final to earn his first PGA Tour win and first win in the United States. For Casey, it was the second consecutive year he lost in the final. Poulter became the first Englishman to win a World Golf Championships event.

In 2009, Geoff Ogilvy defeated Casey, 4 & 3, in the final to win this event for the second time in his career. Ogilvy won the title in 2006 and finished second to Henrik Stenson in 2007. Ogilvy joined Woods as the only players to win this championship more than once. He is also the second golfer behind Woods to win at least three WGC events.

In 2008, Woods hammered Stewart Cink, 8 & 7, in the championship match to win 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.

You'll be hard-pressed to find a better match-play competitor in this century than 3-time champion Woods. He won three consecutive U.S. Junior titles, then three straight U.S. Amateur crowns and has won three titles at this tournament. Woods is 33-10 all-time at this event, winning in 2003-04 and 2008 and losing in the finals to Darren Clarke in 2000. However, he has not advanced past the second round since 2008. Woods has 18 wins at World Golf Championships events. In 13 starts at this tournament, he has three wins and seven top-10s along with $4,848,550 in earnings.

The most consecutive matches won in 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 won 11 consecutive matches (2006-07) before losing to Stenson in the 2007 final, and Mahan also won 11 in a row (2012-13) before losing to Kuchar in the 2013 final.

Ogilvy's 2006 win came when he defeated Davis Love III, 3 & 2, in the 36-hole final. He later went on to win the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot for his first major title. Ogilvy played a total of 129 holes in 2006, the most by anyone in the history of the tournament. His first four matches went to extra holes. 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 2005 was his time to shine. Toms, who is second only to Woods in career matches won at this event with 24, destroyed fellow American DiMarco, 6 & 5, in the final to capture the tournament.

American Kevin Sutherland, seeded 62nd in 2002, became the lowest-ranked player ever to win this tournament, when he defeated Scott McCarron of the U.S. in the final, 1-up.

The PGA Tour travels to Florida next week for the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, where Martin Kaymer is the defending champion. The European Tour will be in Mauritius for the inaugural AfrAsia Mauritius Open.

04/28 15:36:09 ET

As of April 28, 2015, at 03:37 PM ET
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