Accenture Match Play Championship
Top seeds advance in Match Play
Tiger Woods fails to advance, blames putter
Tiger Woods looked haggard even before he stepped to the first tee in the Accenture Match Play Championship on Thursday.
Perhaps it was telling, because by the end of the day Woods had lost before the third round for the fourth year in a row in the tournament he won in 2008.
His flat stick was to blame, he said after the match.
“I was fighting the blocks all day with my putter,” he said. “The putter was going back a little bit shut, and subsequently I let it go and it goes left, and I block it right.”
Woods could be heard coughing occasionally throughout his 1-up loss to fellow California native Nick Watney, who held a steady one- to two-hole lead through the back nine. Watney will face top seed and world No. 2 Lee Westwood, who, with No. 1 Luke Donald gone, is the highest ranked player left in the field. Neither player has won in the third round.
The three remaining top seeds in the bracket advanced to the third round for the first time in Accenture history.
In a match that stayed within a hole throughout, Martin Kaymer of Germany beat American David Toms. Kaymer, who is ranked No. 4 in the world, also struggled with putting.
“I couldn't make as many putts as I did yesterday. David is one of those people, he doesn't let go. Had a chance to go all square on 18, and I was fortunate I could finish it off,” Kaymer said.
The other top seed, world No. 3 Rory McIlroy is the youngest at 22 and the highest ranked (No. 3) player left. He plays Miguel Jimenez, the lowest ranked (No. 52) and oldest player, at 48, remaining.
The two Scots left in the tournament, Paul Laurie, ranked No. 45, and Martin Laird, No. 39, play each other Friday. The were seeded 11 and 10 respectively, so theoretically the match could be close.
“Hopefully, I’ll be the one going through, but if not, I’ll be happy that there’s another Scot in the quarter-finals, for sure,” Laird said Thursday.
Laird, who was 17 when Lowrie won the British Open in 1999, met the elder Scot at a clinic for teens.
“I remember looking up to him then, thinking, ‘This is where I want to go. I want to be holding the trophy just like he is.’ And it’s kind of funny now I’m playing him tomorrow right here in Arizona,” Laird said.
Third round matches continue Friday at 10:50 a.m. Tickets are available at PGATour.com and area Fry’s and Costos stores. Gates open at 9 a.m.