February 23, 2006

Tiger's Perfect Match Play Round

At Ace Weekly, we report on the pursuit of perfection in golf. After all, when you hit a hole in one, there is not better shot in the game. You cannot have a better score on any hole than a "one". That being said, we felt the need to report on another example of perfection in the game which turned out to be Tiger Woods' thrashing of opponent Stephen Ames in Wednesday's first round of the PGA Tour's Accenture Match Play Championship.

For those of you unfamiliar with match play, two golfers are pitted against one and other for 18 holes, mano y mano. At the end of each hole, the player with the best score "wins" the hole. At the end of the round, each player tallies up how many holes thay have won, and a winner is declared. In a perfect world, one player is able to win the first nine holes and then either "halve" (a term for tying scores on a hole) or win the 10th. Doing so would finish the match in the shortest possible time.

On Wednesday, that is exactly what Woods did against Ames. Tiger reeled off six birdies to start the round and finished with seven during the day. Ames on the other hand "struggled" with seven pars during the shortened round. When all was said and done, Tiger had beaten Ames by a score of 9 and 8 (this is shorthand for 9 holes up with 8 holes to play), thus finishing a "perfect" match play win.

Some may ask how Tiger mustered the fabulous play considering the wayward accuracy he displayed during the first two tournaments of his season (both of which he won, by the way) and the fact that he was forced to withdraw from last week's Nissan Open due to a case of the flu. Unfortunately for Stephen Ames, he voiced these questions out loud on Monday. When asked whether he had a chance at beating the world's number one player, Ames was quoted as saying, "especially where he's hitting the ball," a direct reference to Tiger's accuracy struggles. Mr. Woods heard these comments and apparently decided to demonstrate his immense talent against Ames on Wednesday. In a post-round interview, Tiger was asked if he heard Stephen's comments before the round. He curtly replied, "yes". When posed the follow-up question asking what went through his mind at the time, Tiger gave one of his fiendish grins and said, "9 and 8".