Play was halted at 1:07 PM Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday afternoon when rain quickly turned to snow during play at The WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. For a moment, it looked like a blizzard was descending on the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain Golf Course in Marana, Arizona. It went from umbrella’s and players trying to stay dry, to a driving snow storm that quickly covered greens, at the course, which is Northwest of Tucson.
The three o’clock eastern, pictures of Dove Mountain looked more like a Ski broadcast on The Golf Channel than a golf tournament. The snow flakes are huge, and wet. Officials are saying they might get back on the course later in the day, but it looks doubtful. PGA TOUR Rules Official Dillard Pruitt told Fred Albers of the PGA TOUR Network on SiriusXM that the weather forecast for the rest of the day is not good. Ice is already forming on the greens.
At the time the matches were halted, ten groups had yet to tee off, including the number one seeds from all four divisions. The matches that were on the course were finding the conditions tough for golf. It was cold, very windy, and the cloudy skies turned to rain. Players were dressed in jackets, and stocking caps pulled down over their ears. The golf balls were coming up short on many approach shots just because they were cold.
A couple of surprises in the first round so far. Nicolas Colsaerts, has a 3 Up lead over Bill Haas. The problems Haas encountered with his driver on Sunday at The Northern Trust Open have followed him to Arizona, and he is continuing to struggle with the long stick. Tongchai Jaidee, from Thailand, played #3 seed Sergio Garcia strong through 12 holes, but has went 2 Dn to the Spaniard late in the round.
Thorbjorn Olesen has a 3 Up lead over Jamie Donaldson. This is a 10 seed beating up on a 7 seed, but if you have been keeping up with the European Tour, then you know Olesen has been playing well all spring, and has brought that momentum to Dove Mountain. Jason Dufner has a dogfight on his hands, as I projected in an earlier blog, against Richard Sterne from South Africa. Sterne has also been hot, finishing alone in second place at The Omega Dubai Desert Classic, and a win the following week at The Joburg Open. I don’t think Dufner can stay with Sterne in this match.
Defending Champion, Hunter Mahan has a 4 Up lead over 19 year old Matteo Manaserro, and is probably too strong for the young Italian. I had Mahan winning this match, but am surprised it’s not a little closer. South African George Coetzee is giving Martin Kaymer all he can handle. Coetzee is only 1 Up, but these South Africans have been playing all through the winter in the Sunshine Tour, and are in mid-season form. They came ready to play in this event.
I’m not sure I agree with playing the same golf course for this event every year. I think they should move the tournament around to other sites. The mountains in New Mexico are at a pretty good altitude, and playing golf there in February is a crap shoot at best.
I don’t know about the rest of the golf fans out there, but I wish they would play more Match Play events every year. These tournament generate a ton of excitement because we know going in, what the match-ups are going to be, and we Americans like to see Davy take on Goliath. Fans just seem to enjoy the format. Now if we could just get the weather to cooperate, we can get this tournament moving again.
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