The top 64 players available from the Official World Golf Ranking will fight to make it through six rounds of knockout matchplay to become the WGC Accenture Matchplay champion. It’s one of the richest tournaments of the year with $8,000,000 up for grabs. Even those who lose out in the first round pick up $40,000.
Tiger Woods makes his long awaited return after 254 days away from the pro game. The World Number One, the defending champion, faces Brendan Jones of Australia in the first round. It’s a testing event for Woods to come back in. If he makes it all the way to the final it will be seven rounds including 36-holes in Sunday’s final. On the other hand, there’s every chance of an ignominious early round exit. The gunslingers will be out for Woods and, over 18-holes matchplay, the tournament rusty Woods could provide a fairly easy target.
Venue: Ritz-Carlton GC, Dove Mountain, Arizona
Date: Feb 25 – Mar 1
Course stats: par 72, 7,833 yards
Purse: $8,500,000 Winner: $1,350,000
Defending champion: Tiger Woods (beat Stewart Cink by 8&7)
Wednesday 25th – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 7pm
Thursday 26th – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 7pm
Friday 27th – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 7pm
Saturday 28th – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 3pm
Sunday 1st – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 3pm
Tiger Woods – The World Number One makes a return to action following an injury-enforced layoff from competitive golf since the 2008 US Open.
Henrik Stenson – The Swede has a solid record in this event and was winner back in 2007, he’s a steely matchplay competitor.
Rory McIlroy – The young Northern Irishman has already stepped up a level in 2009. This could be the perfect event for him to make his mark – if both players make it through the first two rounds, McIlroy will face Woods in round three.
Key hole: The matchplay format means any hole could prove to be the crucial turning point.
Skills required: The long ball. The altitude of Dove Mountain means the ball will travel further but, at 7,800 yards, the Ritz-Carlton is a monster. The big hitters will have a distinct advantage here.