Am I the only one wondering why there aren’t more matchplay events played? Every Sunday afternoon I hope there’s a tie at the top of the leaderboard just so I can watch half an hour of man against man, seeing who has the bottle to go and grab the tournament by the scruff of its neck. It’s exhilarating and gets the pros just as nervous and excited, but why do we love watching hole-by-hole competition? It’s because the players have to attack everything.
“You can’t give an inch, otherwise every other guy will take a mile,” were Paul Casey’s words after his victory in the first round of the Accenture World Match Play. This is the kind of attitude that leads to moments of greatness but also despair, and the reason why this format of the game is great at keeping the edge of our seats warm.
Matchplay rarely goes stale for the viewer and can be played pretty quickly if the ball is going tee to green with putts regularly getting conceded. There’s no ‘dilly-dallying’ about holing putts resting a foot away from the cup, but there are also instances where putts are never conceded, which can lead to tensions between players, all adding to the spectacle.
Matchplay golf can dish up so many enthralling ties. Imagine watching the youthful brilliance of Rory McIlroy against the inexorable brilliance of Tiger Woods, seeing the fluid swings of Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott go herad to head or even a clash between two of the biggest hitters on Tour, Angel Cabrera and Alvaro Quiros.
Ties like these may never happen simply because there aren’t enough chances for them to occur, but they would be more likely to arise should the powers that be allow it. I’ll give you a great example that exemplifies why matchplay is enthralling viewing and should be given more airtime…The Ryder Cup. Does any other event in our sport get the juices flowing more than this great biennial meeting? Roll on Celtic Manor…