Pre-Tournament Media Notes
***Click Here for Tournament Bracket***
Dates: February 20-26, 2012
Where: The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain, Marana, Ariz.
Par/Yards: 36-36 – 72/7,791
Field: Top 64 from the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as of February 13, 2012
Format: Match Play (hole-by-hole competition)
Defending Champion: Luke Donald (England)
Purse: $8,500,000; Winner’s Share: $1.4 million
Accenture Match Play Championship seeding to be based off OWGR as of Monday, Feb. 20. The Accenture Match Play Championship will again feature the top 64 players in the OWGR, but new for 2012, the seeding for the tournament bracket will be based off the most recent rankings, released Monday, February 20. The change was instituted to ensure the brackets reflect the most recent OWGR to more accurately seed the players. If there is a shuffle at the top of the rankings or if a player makes a significant jump in one of the tournaments immediately preceding the Accenture Match Play Championship that will now be reflected in the brackets. The official bracket will be released at 7 a.m. on Monday, February 20.
· Defending champion and World No. 1 Luke Donald enters his title defense as the top overall seed and will look to become just the second player to claim back-to-back Accenture Match Play Championship titles (Tiger Woods, 2003-2004).
· Donald headlines a field that includes 62 of the top 64 players in the OWGR. Phil Mickelson (No. 11) and Paul Casey (No. 23) will not compete. They are replaced in the field by Ernie Els (No. 65) and George Coetzee (No. 66), respectively.
· Six of the top 10 in the current FedExCup points list are in the field: Kyle Stanley (No. 1); Mark Wilson (No. 3); Brandt Snedeker (No. 4); Steve Stricker (No. 6); Ben Crane (No. 7); and Martin Laird (No. 8).
· Four of the first six winners of the season on both the PGA TOUR and the European Tour are in the field. The PGA TOUR winners are: Steve Stricker (Hyundai Tournament of Champions); Mark Wilson (Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation); Brandt Snedeker (Farmers Insurance Open); and Kyle Stanley (Waste Management Phoenix Open). The European Tour winners are: Louis Oosthuizen (Africa Open); Robert Rock (Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship); Paul Lawrie (Commercialbank Qatar Masters); and Raphael Cabrera Bello (Omega Dubai Desert Classic).
· Defending champion Luke Donald is one of seven past champions of the Accenture Match Play Championship in the field who have won a combined 10 titles.
– Luke Donald (2011) – David Toms (2005) — Ian Poulter (2010) — Steve Stricker (2001) — Geoff Ogilvy (2006, 2009) – Darren Clarke (2000) — Tiger Woods (2003, 2004, 2008)
· There are 11 players making their first-career start at the Accenture Match Play Championship. They are: Webb Simpson (No. 6, United States); Keegan Bradley (No. 26, United States); Jason Dufner (No. 34, United States); Sang-Moon Bae (No. 43, South Korea); Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (No. 49, Spain); Kyle Stanley (No. 52, United States); Gary Woodland (No. 56, United States); Robert Rock (No. 58, England); Rafael Cabrera Bello (No. 60, Spain); Nicolas Colsaerts (No. 64, Belgium); and George Coetzee (No. 66, South Africa). Simpson, Bae, Stanley, Cabrera Bello and Coetzee are all making their first World Golf Championships start.
Golf’s Global Summit
A total of 42 international players are among the field of 64, representing 13 countries. England and Australia lead the way with six players in the field each, followed by South Korea, South Africa and Spain with five each. Northern Ireland and Sweden each have three representatives. Denmark, Italy and Scotland each have two players in the field while Germany, Japan and Belgium have one apiece.
Donald’s 2011 campaign, which ended with the Englishman becoming the first member to finish No. 1 on the PGA TOUR Official Money List and the European Tour Order of Merit, was jumpstarted with a record-breaking victory at the Accenture Match Play Championship. Donald defeated Germany’s Martin Kaymer in the Championship Match, 3 and 2, to claim his first World Golf Championships title. Donald’s 3-and-2 victory over Kaymer marked the ninth-consecutive year the Championship Match has failed to reach No. 18. The No. 1 player in the OWGR since winning the European Tour’s BMW PGA Championship last summer, Donald never trailed in any of his six matches en route to victory and none of his six matches were extended to No. 18. He joined Tiger Woods (2003) as the only players to win the Accenture Match Play Championship without playing the 18th hole. The deepest in any of his six matches Donald was all square was through 10 holes, which occurred in the Championship Match versus Kaymer and in the Second Round versus Italy’s Edoardo Molinari.
Luke Donald’s path to victory in 2011
—-Round 1 – 6 and 5 over No. 56 Charley Hoffman (USA).
—-Round 2 – 2 and1 over No. 24 Edoardo Molinari (ITA).
—-Round 3 – 3 and 2 over No. 57 Matteo Manassero (ITA).
—-Quarterfinal – 5 and 4 over No. 48 Ryan Moore (USA).
—-Semifinal – 6 and 5 over No. 13 Matt Kuchar (USA).
—-Finals – 3 and 2 over No. 2 Martin Kaymer (DEU).
Grabbing an early lead was critical for Donald on his path to winning the 2011 Accenture Match Play Championship. He won the first hole in four of his six matches, was at least two up through three holes in three of his six matches and played holes 1-3 at 8-under for the week. He was a combined 9-up through the first three holes for the week. Donald would go on to earn PGA TOUR Player of the Year honors and would win a second time at the seasonending Children’s Miracle Network Classic in November. He finished the season with a PGA TOUR-best 14 top 10s. Donald is making his PGA TOUR debut this week at the Northern Trust Open in Pacific Palisades, CA. In his only start so far in 2012 on the European Tour, he finished T48 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Key Storylines for 2012
· Americans have won the first six events (through AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am) on the PGA TOUR in 2012, the longest streak to open a season since 2001 when Americans won the first eight events before Robert Allenby claimed the Northern Trust Open.
· In his first appearance at the Accenture Match Play Championship in 2011, American Bubba Watson produced the best finish by a lefthander in tournament history, finishing 4th. His solo 4th was the best finish by a player in their first start at the event since Geoff Ogilvy won in 2006.
· A strong Asian contingent including reigning PLAYERS Championship winner K.J. Choi (South Korea), Ryo Ishikawa (Japan) and fellow Presidents Cup team members K.T. Kim (South Korea) and Y.E. Yang (South Korea) will look to become the first Asian-born player to capture a World Golf Championships title.
· Two-time Accenture Match Play Championship winner Geoff Ogilvy owns the best winning percentage in the event at 83.3 percent (20-4).
· Reigning FedExCup champion Bill Haas will look to improve on his record in the Accenture Match Play Championship in his second-career appearance. He lost in the first round in 2011 to Bubba Watson, 3 and 2.
· There were 11 matches that were extended past 18 holes at the 2011 Accenture Match Play Championship, the most in the three-year history of the event at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain.
· Fourteen upsets (lower seed defeating higher seed) occurred in the first round last year at the Accenture Match Play Championship, the most since the tournament’s first year in 1999 when there were 18.
· The No. 64 seed has defeated the No. 1 overall seed twice in the 13-year history of the Accenture Match Play Championship, most recently in 2010 when England’s Ross McGowan defeated American Steve Stricker. In 2002, Australian Peter O’Malley defeated Tiger Woods. Will Luke Donald be able to escape the first round in his title defense?
· The 2012 PGA TOUR Regular Season is 37 events over the course of 33 weeks, followed by four PGA TOUR Playoff events to determine the FedExCup champion: The Barclays (Dustin Johnson), Deutsche Bank Championship (Webb Simpson), BMW Championship (Justin Rose) and TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola (Bill Haas). Last year Haas joined Jim Furyk (2010), Tiger Woods (2007 and 2009) and Vijay Singh (2008) as winners of the season-long FedExCup competition.
· The Accenture Match Play Championship is the first of four World Golf Championships on the 2012 schedule. Following the Accenture Match Play Championship are the Cadillac Championship (March 5- 11), Bridgestone Invitational (July 30 – August 5) and the HSBC Champions (October 29 – November 4).
Youth Movement Continues
There are 24 players under the age of 30 competing in the Accenture Match Play Championship, the most in tournament history, bettering the record of 23 previously set in 2010 and 2011. For the second consecutive year, Italy’s Matteo Manassero is the youngest at 18 years, 9 months and 30 days (as of 2/17/12). He advanced to the third round in 2011 before losing to Luke Donald, 3 and 2.
There are six players currently ranked in the top 10 of the OWGR under the age of 30, led by Rory McIlroy at No. 3. Following McIlroy are Martin Kaymer (No. 4), Webb Simpson (No. 6), Jason Day (No. 7), Charl Schwartzel (No. 9) and Dustin Johnson (No. 10). Here is a complete list of qualified players under the age of 30:
Name, Country, Birthday, Age
Matteo Manassero Italy 4/19/1993 18
Ryo Ishikawa Japan 9/17/1991 20
Rory McIlroy Northern Ireland 5/4/1989 22
Rickie Fowler United States 12/13/1988 23
Kyle Stanley United States 11/19/1987 24
Jason Day Australia 11/12/1987 24
George Coetzee South Africa 7/18/1986 25
Sang-moon Bae South Korea 6/21/1986 25
Keegan Bradley United States 6/7/1986 25
K.T. Kim South Korea 2/9/1986 26
Webb Simpson United States 8/8/1985 26
Martin Kaymer Germany 12/28/1984 27
Charl Schwartzel South Africa 8/31/1984 27
Dustin Johnson United States 6/22/1984 27
Gary Woodland United States 5/21/1984 27
Raphael Cabrera Bello Spain 5/25/1984 27
Kevin Na South Korea 11/15/1983 28
Nicolas Colsaerts Belgium 11/14/1983 28
Alvaro Quiros Spain 1/21/1983 29
Hunter Mahan United States 5/17/1982 29
Bill Haas United States 5/24/1982 29
Louis Oosthuizen South Africa 10/19/1982 29
Francesco Molinari Italy 11/8/1982 29
Martin Laird Scotland 12/29/1982 29
A number of players are returning to the Accenture Match Play Championship after long absences, including past champion Darren Clarke (2000). After claiming the 2011 British Open Championship, Clarke will make his first start at the Accenture Match Play Championship since 2007. In addition to his victory in 2000, Clarke finished T5 at the Accenture Match Play Championship in 2003 and 3rd in 2004. Other players making their return to the Accenture Match Play Championship after lengthy droughts include:
· Fredrik Jacobson (Sweden) – Claimed his first PGA TOUR victory at the 2011 Travelers Championship and will make first start at the Accenture Match Play Championship since 2005. His best result was a T9 in 2004.
· Paul Lawrie (Scotland) – Former British Open champion won the Commercialbank Qatar Masters last month to move back inside the top 50 in the OWGR and qualify for the Accenture Match Play Championship. Last appearance at the event came in 2003 and his best result was a T5 in 2000.
· Greg Chalmers (Australia) – Won the Australian Open and Australian PGA in back-to-back starts on the Australasian Tour to end 2011 and qualify for the Accenture Match Play Championship. Last appearance at the Accenture Match Play Championship came in 2001 when he finished T33.
Martin Kaymer – Germany
At No. 4 in the OWGR, Kaymer returns to the Accenture Match Play Championship as one of the four No. 1 seeds for the second consecutive year and will look to improve on his runner-up effort in 2011. He captured his first World Golf Championships title last November at the HSBC Champions, but his looking for his first victory in the United States since the 2010 PGA Championship. Kaymer has compiled a record of 7-4 in his four appearances at the Accenture Match Play Championship and has opened the season in good form on the European Tour. After missing the cut in his first start at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, he’s finished T9 and T13 at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters and Omega Dubai Desert Classic, respectively. The Accenture Match Play Championship is his first start in the United States in 2012.
Lee Westwood – England
The No. 1 overall seed at the 2011 Accenture Match Play Championship, Englishman Lee Westwood will look to advance past the Second Round for the first time in 12 appearances at the event. Currently ranked No. 2 in the OWGR, Westwood fell to American Nick Watney in the Second Round last year, 1 down. Westwood, who won the Ballentine’s Championship on the European Tour last May, is fresh off a runner-up performance last week at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. His last victory in the United States came at the 2010 FedEx St. Jude Classic. Like Kaymer, Westwood is making his first start of the year in the United States.
Rory McIlroy – Northern Ireland
The 2011 U.S. Open champion enters the Accenture Match Play Championship as a top seed for the first time in his career at No. 3 in the OWGR. McIlroy advanced to the Quarterfinals of the event in his first appearance in 2009, but has fallen in the Second Round each of the last two years. The 2011 Accenture Match Play Championship was definitely a tale of two matches for McIlroy as he defeated Jonathan Byrd, 4 and 2, in the First Round before falling to Ben Crane, 8 and 7, in the Second Round. The 8-and-7 loss to Crane was the most decisive outcome at the 2011 Accenture Match Play Championship.
McIlroy, who like Kaymer and Westwood is making his debut in the United States this week, opened the season with a runner-up performance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on the European Tour. He finished T5 in his last appearance at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
Tiger Woods – United States
In search of his first PGA TOUR victory since the 2009 BMW Championship, three-time Accenture Match Play Championship winner Tiger Woods returns to The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain, looking to avenge a First Round loss to Thomas Bjorn in 2011.Woods’ loss to Bjorn in 19 holes marked just the second time he has been bounced from the Accenture Match Play Championship in the First Round. He fell to Peter O’Malley in the First Round in 2002, 2 and 1.
Woods has been in contention in each of his first two starts in 2012, first at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on the European Tour and then at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on the PGA TOUR. He eventually finished T3 at Abu Dhabi with a final round 72, but fell to a T15 at Pebble Beach with a final round 75. Woods holds the Accenture Match Play Championship record for both matches played (40) and matches won (32) as well as most appearances in the finals (4). He won a tournament record 13 consecutive matches from 2003-2005. He has 16 World Golf Championships victories to his credit:
Bridgestone Invitational 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Accenture Match Play Championship 2003, 2004, 2008
Cadillac Championship 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007
Ernie Els – South Africa
One of the last players to make it into the field at No. 65 in the OWGR, Ernie Els earned a trip to the Accenture Match Play Championship after Phil Mickelson announced he would not be competing. Els has competed in 11 previous installments of the Accenture Match Play Championship, including each of the last six, with his best result a 4th in 2001. Prior to 2012, Els lowest seed at the event was in 2010 when he was No. 15.
The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain
A few facts about The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain, as the course hosts the Accenture Match Play Championship for the fourth-consecutive year:
· Longest Match – 24 Holes (Paul Casey def. Camilo Villegas, 2010 Semifinals)
· Shortest Match – 8 and 7 (Ben Crane def. Rory McIlroy, 2011 Second Round)
· 28 – Number of matches to go extra holes since 2009.
· 38 – Number of matches decided on No. 18 since 2009.
· 31 – Number of matches that ended prior to No. 15 since 2009.
· 21.8 percent – Percentage of matches that ended on No. 17 since 2009, highest of any hole at The Ritz-
Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain.
“Follow the Leaders” at the 2012 Accenture Match Play Championship
“Follow the Leaders” is a new fan enhancement introduced for the 2012 Accenture Match Play Championship that gives fans an opportunity to fall in behind the Championship Match and follow the players down each fairway until the 2012 champion is decided. “Follow the Leaders” will give fans the unique chance to experience the crowd, walk the fairways and view the greens from a player’s perspective. All Sunday ticket holders will be invited to “Follow the Leaders” at the Accenture Match Play Championship.
Groups of volunteers will be stationed on two holes at a time – the hole currently being played and preparing for the next hole to be played – holding ropes that allow fans to follow behind the final group up to within 40 feet of play. The gallery will not be allowed near greenside bunkers, within approaches to the green or between a bunker and a green. Marshals will also ensure fans do not walk in front of the players at any point.
“I’m really excited to hear about the ‘Follow the Leaders’ program,” said 2011 Accenture Match Play Championship winner and World No. 1 Luke Donald. “Winning the Accenture Match Play Championship earlier this year was a career highlight and nothing beats the atmosphere of match-play competition. To have the gallery fill in behind the last match will make things even more exciting. I really hope I’m part of the experience in February, since that means I’m in the Championship Match and have a shot at successfully defending my title!”
Accenture Match Play Championship and Military Appreciation
On Friday, February 24, don’t miss the festivities surrounding Military Appreciation Day, and help us celebrate those who serve or who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. There will be a special Military Appreciation Ceremony at 10 a.m. on the back clubhouse lawn – open to the public – featuring a color guard, performance of the National Anthem and a flyover by US Navy Squadron VFA-86 out of NAS Lemoore.
A corporate hospitality structure located adjacent to the 14th tee/17th green, the Birdies for the Brave Patriots’ Outpost offers all military and their dependents, including veterans, an opportunity to relax and enjoy free food and beverage throughout the week (Wednesday-Sunday). Free admission to the Accenture Match Play Championship is offered to all active duty, retired and Reserve military to thank them for their service. Veterans may purchase discounted tickets.
Please visit www.birdiesforthebrave.org for more information on the PGA TOUR’s support of the military.