Last match play, Kuchar’s last chance to beat Tiger’s record


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Matt Kuchar has a chance to break at least one Tiger Woods record, and Dell Technologies Match Play will be his last chance.

That’s because this is the last version of match play. First of all, Kuchar feels lucky to be part of his 64-man field at his Austin Country club.

Perilous: To set the record for the most wins in a tournament held until 1999, you need to win three matches.

Kuchar has reached the Final Four four times, won the championship in 2013, lost to Kevin Kisner in 2019, and lost in the semifinals twice. His career mark is 34-11-4. Woods is the only three-time match play winner with a 36-12 record.

“This is an event that I love and it’s really good for me,” Kuchar said on Tuesday as he ducked indoors from a steady drizzle. “That was something I had my eye on, and I had to ask, ‘Hey, how do you get into this? I am very excited that it worked. ”

Match play was the most unique and last of the World Golf Championships when the series began in 1999.

Firestone’s WGC moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 2019 and changed to a FedEx Cup playoff event two years later.

Initially alternating between the US and Europe, the WGC moved to Doral (and absorbed regular PGA Tour events), then headed to Mexico City when a sponsor for the Donald Trump-owned course could not be found, before closing. it was done. COVID-19 Pandemic.

The HSBC Champions in Shanghai has not been played since 2019 due to the pandemic and the China Golf Association has not allowed it to resume. PGA Tour his commissioner Jay Monahan doesn’t think the event will continue with the move to so many high-level events on the new schedule.

And now Dell Match Play has ended this year. This is a blow for fans who enjoy the most unpredictable nature of the 18-hole game and for Austin who lacks the highest level of golf.

It ends with a 64-man field that had to drop to 77th in the world rankings to fill the field, and another sign of these divisive times in golf.

So without LIV Golf, 11 players, including Kuchar, wouldn’t be in Austin.

“I think I’m grateful to LIV for a lot of things,” Kuchar laughed, referring to this week’s $20 million purse.

Kuchar could beat Woods’ record by sweeping three games in group play, but it’s never going to be easy. Kuchar is the 59th seed and will face Viktor Hovland, Chris Kirk and Si Woo Kim. Both have won tournaments in the last four months.

Kuchar isn’t sure why he’s doing so well in match play, but there’s one notable maxim about the format.

“Good form is the most important thing to success,” he said.

Scotty Schaeffler has a little bit of both. The number one player in the world already has two wins for him this year. Most recently he won the Players Championship two weeks ago. Schaeffler made his match-play debut in 2021, reaching his match for the championship where he lost to Billy his Horschel and won match-play last year by defeating Kizner.

Woods is the only player to win back-to-back match play.

“Match play is a little different,” Schaeffler said. “But I think people who are playing the best golf do what they have to do to win games and win tournaments, and I think it’s a good format. It’s a little funky, but it’s a change of pace.” .”

Schaeffler won last year as the No. 5 seed, and in the last 23 years, the top seeds have won match play, Rory McIlroy in 2015, Dustin Johnson in 2017 and Woods three times (2003, 2004, 2008). was. His two players in his group, Tom Kim and Davis Riley, will be playing for the first time.

Jon Rahm reached a championship match in 2017 on his debut. He’s coming off a stomach virus that’s bad enough to knock him out of the Players Championship after one round.

The Spaniard hopes the format will return to the PGA Tour schedule at some point.

“With the exception of perhaps the Ryder Cup, it’s really the only time of the year when you’re truly up against someone in front of you. It’s so much more relevant to all the sports we play in the world.” said Ram.

“It’s fun. It’s much more aggressive. You see more birdies. You see a lot of things happen.”


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