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

DATES: Wednesday, February 23rd through Sunday, February 27th
SITE: Ritz-Carlton Golf Club (Saguaro/Tortolita Nines), Dove Mountain,
         Marana, Arizona
COURSE ARCHITECT: Jack Nicklaus (2008)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,791
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 460 Yd10 - Par 4 493 Yds
2 - Par 5 574 Yd11 - Par 5 601 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 3,897 Yds
Annual:  13th
Television:  Golf Channel - Wednesday/Friday -- 2-6 p.m. (et)
  NBC - Saturday -- 2-6 p.m. (et),
  Golf Channel - Sunday -- 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (et),
  NBC - Sunday -- 2-6 p.m. (et)
Defending Champion:  Ian Poulter
Runner-Up:  Paul Casey
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
2010 Finish
Ian PoulterWonRetief GoosenT-5
Paul Casey2ndThongchai JaideeT-5
Camilo Villegas3rdOliver WilsonT-5
Sergio Garcia4thEight players tied atT-9
Stewart CinkT-5
Past WGC - Accenture World Match Play Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
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

Top Contenders in the Field
Ian Poulter (12)---QFSF1st3rd2nd3rdWON18-7
Paul Casey (6)1st1st1st1stQF3rdRupRup15-8
C. Villegas (43)---------------1st3rdSF7-3
Stewart Cink (57)---2ndQF1st3rdRupSFQF21-1
Retief Goosen (15)1st1stSFQF2nd1st1stQF15-1
Luke Donald (9)------3rd3rd2nd2nd3rd3rd10-6
C. Schwartzel (25)------------------2nd3rd3-2
Ben Crane (38)---------2nd2nd------3rd4-3
Ryo Ishikawa (39)---------------------3rd2-1
Nick Watney (30)---------------------3rd2-1
Geoff Ogilvy (28)---------WONRup1stWON2nd18-3
Ernie Els (11)1st------1st1st1stQF2nd11-1
Sean O'Hair (51)---------2nd------QF2nd5-3
Rory McIlroy (7)------------------QF2nd4-2
Jim Furyk (10)3rd---1st1st2nd1st3rd2nd10-1
Lee Westwood (1)---1st2nd1st1st2nd2nd2nd6-1
Zach Johnson (31)------1stSF1st1st2nd2nd7-6
Martin Kaymer (2)---------------1st2nd2nd2-3
Adam Scott (27)SF3rdQF2nd1st2nd1st2nd14-9
R. Allenby (26)3rd2ndQF2nd1st1st1st2nd9-1
R. Karlsson (17)1st---------1st1st1st2nd1-5
Anders Hansen (52)1st------------1st1st2nd1-4
Y.E. Yang (48)------------1st------2nd1-2
Matt Kuchar (13)---------------------2nd1-1
Ross Fisher (37)------------------SF1st4-3
Peter Hanson (36)---------------1st3rd1st2-3
S. Stricker (8)------------1st3rd2nd1st9-8
Hunter Mahan (18)---------------2nd2nd1st2-3
M.A. Jimenez (23)---1st2nd2nd1st1st2nd1st3-7
Anthony Kim (34)------------------2nd1st1-2
H. Stenson (69)---------2ndWONSF1st1st12-4
P. Harrington (35)2ndQF2ndQF2nd2nd1st1st10-1
G. McDowell (4)------2nd1st------1st1st1-4
D. Johnson (14)------------------1st1st0-2
Alvaro Quiros (21)------------------1st1st0-2
F. Molinari (16)---------------------1st0-1
E. Molinari (24)---------------------1st0-1
Ryan Moore (42)---------------------1st0-1
Yuta Ikeda (44)---------------------1st0-1
Phil Mickelson (5)3rdQF3rd3rd2nd2nd3rd---15-1
Tiger Woods (3)WONWON2nd3rd3rdWON2nd---32-7
K.J. Choi (46)2nd1st1st1st2ndQF1st---5-7
Justin Rose (29)2nd1st------QF1st1st---4-5
Brendan Jones (64)---------------1st1st---0-2
L. Oosthuizen (20)------------------1st---0-1
Jonathan Byrd (61)---------------3rd------2-1
Richard Green (60)------1st1st1st1st------0-4
J.B. Holmes (66)---------------1st------0-1
Thomas Bjorn (65)1st2nd1st---1st---------4-6
Jason Day (40)------------------------0-0
Rickie Fowler (33)------------------------0-0
H. Fujita (50)------------------------0-0
Bill Haas (45)------------------------0-0
C. Hoffman (58)------------------------0-0
Kyung-tae Kim (32)------------------------0-0
Martin Laird (41)------------------------0-0
M. Manassero (59)------------------------0-0
Seung-yul Noh (62)------------------------0-0
Jeff Overton (54)------------------------0-0
Ryan Palmer (56)------------------------0-0
Heath Slocum (63)------------------------0-0
Bo Van Pelt (47)------------------------0-0
Bubba Watson (19)------------------------0-0
Mark Wilson (53)------------------------0-0
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy
Darkhorse - Charl Schwartzel and J.B. Holmes
Last Week's Pick to Win - PGA (Luke Donald) - Missed the cut
Last Week's Darkhorse - PGA (Robert Karlsson) - Finished T-62
Last Week's Pick to Win - Europe (Rafael Cabrera-Bello) - Finished T-16
Last Week's Darkhorse - Europe (Alvaro Velasco) - Finished T-29
The best players in the world are in action this week as the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship gets under way. Tim Clark, ranked 22nd in the world, is the only player who qualified for this event that is not playing this week. He withdrew with an elbow injury. The No. 1 seeds are Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Woods and Mickelson are back after missing this event last year.

Last year, 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.

You'll be hard-pressed to find a better match-play competitor in this century than three-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 34-7 all-time at this event, winning in 2003-04 and 2008 and losing in the finals to Darren Clarke in 2000.

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

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

2006 saw Ogilvy defeating Davis Love III, 3 & 2, in the 36-hole final. 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 tournament. 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 2005 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 tournament at La Costa Resort & Spa.

This event features the top-64 available players directly from the Official World Golf Ranking released on Monday, February 14, 2011. The field is broken down with 25 Americans and 39 international players, with 15 golfers competing for the first time. The lowest-ranked player in the field is Stenson, currently ranked 69th in the world. There are 15 countries represented in the field, with England and Australia leading the international contingent with 6 players each.

Woods has 16 wins at World Golf Championships events and has earned a whopping $22,689,208 in all. In 10 starts at this event, Woods has three wins and seven top-10s along with $4,662,550 in earnings.

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 won 11 consecutive matches (2006-07) 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 third year that The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona will host the tournament. The Jack Nicklaus-designed course opened for play in January of 2009. 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.

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 on Saturday. The semifinals move this year from Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning. The championship match will be only 18 holes this year. The championship and the consolation match will be held Sunday afternoon. 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 36-10 overall record, while the No. 64 is just 2-12.

This is technically the 16th 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, Cadillac Championship, Bridgestone Invitational and HSBC Champions. 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. The HSBC Champions became a WGC event in 2009.

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 2010, 20 of the 32 first-round matches were won by the higher seed. In 2008 and 2009, 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 1999, only 14 of the 32 were captured by the higher seed.

The PGA Tour travels to Florida next week for The Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, where Camilo Villegas is the defending champion. The European Tour and PGA Tour will be in Florida in two weeks for the World Golf Championships - Cadillac Championship in Miami, where Ernie Els will defend his title.

02/22 16:42:18 ET

As of February 22, 2011, at 04:42 PM ET