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

DATES: Wednesday, February 19th through Sunday, February 23rd
SITE: The Golf Club at 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:  16th
Television:  Golf Channel - Wednesday -- 12-6 p.m. (et),
  - Thursday/Friday -- 2-6 p.m. (et),
  - Saturday -- 12-2 p.m. (et),
  CBS - Saturday -- 2-6 p.m. (et),
  Golf Channel - Sunday -- 12-2 p.m. (et),
  CBS - Sunday -- 2-6 p.m. (et),
Defending Champion:  Matt Kuchar
Runner-Up:  Hunter Mahan
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:  $9,000,000
Shares:  1st Place - $1,530,000; 2nd Place - $906,000; 3rd Place - $630,000;
  4th Place - $510,000; Quarterfinalist - $280,000;
  Third Round - $148,000; Second Round - $99,000; First Round - $48,000
 
2013 Finish
PlayerScorePlayerScore
Matt KucharWonGraeme McDowellT-5
Hunter Mahan2ndWebb SimpsonT-5
Jason Day3rdSteve StrickerT-5
Ian Poulter4thEight players tied atT-9
Robert GarrigusT-5
 
Past WGC - Accenture World Match Play Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
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

Top Contenders in the Field
Player200520062007200820092010201120122013Rcrd
Matt Kuchar (10)---------------2ndSFQFWON15-3
Hunter Mahan (33)---------2nd2nd1st3rdWONRup15-5
Jason Day (11)------------------3rd2ndSF8-3
Ian Poulter (15)SF1st3rd2nd3rdWON1st1stSF22-1
S. Stricker (12)------1st3rd2nd1st1st3rdQF14-1
G. McDowell (17)2nd1st------1st1st3rd1stQF6-7
Webb Simpson (20)---------------------1stQF3-2
Martin Kaymer (49)---------1st2nd2ndRup3rd3rd11-6
Bubba Watson (14)------------------SF2nd3rd7-4
Fdez-Castano (38)---------------------1st3rd2-2
Scott Piercy (66)------------------------3rd2-1
Peter Hanson (62)---------1st3rd1st1stQF2nd6-6
Nick Watney (36)---------------3rd3rd3rd2nd7-4
L. Oosthuizen (35)------------1st---1st2nd2nd2-4
Justin Rose (5)------QF1st1st---2nd1st2nd6-8
Luke Donald (21)3rd3rd2nd2nd3rd3rdWON1st2nd17-8
Jim Furyk (23)1st1st2nd1st3rd2nd1st1st2nd11-1
Sergio Garcia (8)3rd---2nd2nd1stSF---1st2nd13-1
R. Sterne (65)---------1st1st---------2nd1-3
T. Olesen (60)------------------------2nd1-1
Rory McIlroy (7)------------QF2nd2ndRup1st10-5
Lee Westwood (32)2nd1st1st2nd2nd2nd2ndSF1st11-1
D. Johnson (8)------------1st1st1st3rd1st2-5
M. Manassero (50)------------------3rd2nd1st3-3
C. Schwartzel (16)------------2nd3rd2nd2nd1st5-5
Ernie Els (34)---1st1st1stQF2nd2nd2nd1st13-1
F. Molinari (45)---------------1st1st2nd1st1-4
K. Bradley (25)---------------------2nd1st1-2
Rickie Fowler (56)------------------3rd1st1st2-3
Thomas Bjorn (26)1st---1st---------2nd1st1st5-9
Zach Johnson (6)1stSF1st1st2nd2nd1st1st1st7-9
Bill Haas (31)------------------1st1st1st0-3
G. Coetzee (59)---------------------1st1st0-2
Jason Dufner (18)---------------------1st1st0-2
Ryan Moore (29)---------------1stQF---1st3-3
H. Stenson (3)---2ndWONSF1st1st1st---1st12-6
T. Jaidee (51)---------------QF------1st3-2
J. Donaldson (28)------------------------1st0-1
S. Gallacher (37)------------------------1st0-1
Branden Grace (47)------------------------1st0-1
David Lynn (52)------------------------1st0-1
M.A. Jimenez (40)2nd2nd1st1st2nd1stQF3rd---11-1
B. Snedeker (19)---------1st---------3rd---2-2
Gary Woodland (54)---------------------1st---0-1
Boo Weekley (64)---------3rd2nd------------3-2
K.Aphibarnrat (67)---------------------------0-0
Jonas Blixt (46)---------------------------0-0
Graham DeLaet (27)---------------------------0-0
V. Dubuisson (30)---------------------------0-0
H. English (39)---------------------------0-0
B. Horschel (43)---------------------------0-0
Mikko Ilonen (57)---------------------------0-0
Chris Kirk (48)---------------------------0-0
P. Larrazabal (58)---------------------------0-0
Marc Leishman (63)---------------------------0-0
Joost Luiten (42)---------------------------0-0
H. Matsuyama (22)---------------------------0-0
Patrick Reed (44)---------------------------0-0
Jordan Spieth (13)---------------------------0-0
Kevin Stadler (55)---------------------------0-0
S. Stallings (53)---------------------------0-0
K. Streelman (41)---------------------------0-0
Jimmy Walker (24)---------------------------0-0
B. Wiesberger (61)---------------------------0-0
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Jordan Spieth and Graeme McDowell
Darkhorse - Graham DeLaet and Harris English
 
Last Week's Pick to Win - PGA (Dustin Johnson) - Finished 2nd
Last Week's Darkhorse - PGA (Kevin Na) - Missed the cut
 
Last Week's Pick to Win - Europe (Thomas Aiken) - Won
Last Week's Darkhorse - Europe (Matthew Baldwin) - Missed the cut
 
NOTES:
The best players in the world are in action this week as the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship gets under way. Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson are the only players that qualified for this event that are not playing. However, they are ranked 1st (Woods), 2nd (Scott) and 4th (Mickelson) in the world. 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 million, with the winner receiving $1.53 million.

This will be the sixth year that The 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 previous two years. La Costa Resort and Spa had hosted 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 are Sunday morning, while the championship and consolation matches 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 37-13 overall record, while the No. 64 is just 4-14.

This event features the top-64 available players directly from the Official World Golf Ranking released on Monday, February 10, 2014. The field is broken down with 27 Americans and 37 international players, with 19 golfers competing for the first time. The lowest-ranked player in the field is Aphibarnrat, currently ranked 67th in the world. There are 19 countries represented in the field, with South Africa leading the international contingent with six players.

This is technically the 19th 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 Davis Love III in 1998 prior to the format change.

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 $9 million U.S. purses and $1,530,000 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 2013, 17 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.

Last year, 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 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 event, he has three wins and seven top-10s along with $4,848,550 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, 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 Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, where Michael Thompson is the defending champion. The European Tour returns to South Africa for the Tshwane Open at Copperleaf Golf & Country Club in Centurion, where Dawie Van Der Walt won the 2013 title.

02/18 16:43:05 ET

As of February 18, 2014, at 04:43 PM ET