Sunday was the last day for the players to qualify to play in the 2013 WGC-Match Play Championship at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain in the northern suburbs of Tucson, Arizona. It begins on Wednesday of next week; match play for the 64 best players in the world.
Sunday was the last day of tournaments around the world that determine world ranking points. And one guy had a spectacular jump: Richard Sterne of South Africa had a seven-shot win in the Joburg Open, a co-sanctioned event by the European PGA Tour and the Sunshine Tour in South Africa. When they say a “world golf championship,” they mean it. Sterne jumped from No. 94 safely all the way to No. 55.
So the big worry over are they in or out of the tournament is over for almost everyone in the tournament. Now the wait begins for the players just outside the No. 64 cutoff. Why? Because those who are in (qualified for) the tournament have until this Friday to commit to play.
Actually, we already know that Phil Mickelson (10), is not playing because this is the week of his family’s vacation. So Shane Lowry (65) from Ireland is in.
That means that Fredrik Jacobson (66) from Swedeen and Bernd Wiesberger (67) from Austria are now the 1st and 2nd alternates and could be in on Friday if not everyone commits to play. Almost everyone does who can because there’s such prestige to the tournament, a three-year exemption and a big pay check from the $8.8 million purse. Normal tournament purses run from about $5.5 to $6.2 million, a little less, a little more sometimes.
Plus, on any given day, every No. 64 (now No. 65) believes that he could beat No. 1 to get to the second round. Get to the second round, you can get to the third, etc
The first two alternates have an interesting decision to make: to come to the site and be in place for a potential withdrawal or not. Not such a big decision for Jacobson; he lives in Hope Sound, Florida, just north of North Palm Beach. Wiesberger lives in Oberwart, Austria. Tuesday is the last practice day.
The exciting part for the fans, of course, is to see the players they know well:
Rory McIlroy (1), Tiger Woods (2), Luke Donald (3), Brandt Snedeker (4), Justin Rose (5).
Louis Oosthuizen (6), Adam Scott (7), Lee Westwood (8), Bubba Watson (9), Phil Mickelson (10).
Ian Poulter (11), Jason Dufner (12), Steve Stricker (13), Sergio Garcia (14), Keegan Bradley (15).
Charl Schwartzel (16), Dustin Johnson (17), Webb Simpson (18), Graeme McDowell (19), Peter Hanson (20)
Nick Watney (21), Matt Kuchar (22), Bo Van Pelt (23), Ernie Els (24), Zach Johnson (25).
Here is the entire February 10, 2013 World Ranking to see the entire field.
Every one of these top guys knows that they have a chance. Television is on bended knee hoping that they are all right.