Last year he tied for 11th, and he still was within two shots of the lead going into Sunday. Twice he missed the cut before the Masters. Another year he won and had consecutive runner-up finishes. I've got an opportunity this week and next week to generate that momentum.
McIlroy is upbeat for a couple of reasons. Of the man field, McIlroy has won the most matches 23 against the fewest losses 9. He has reached the championship match twice — losing to Hunter Mahan in , beating Gary Woodland in — and the semifinals three times.
You don't have any easy matches. He recalled at Dove Mountain in Arizona when his match against Ben Crane ended on the 11th hole — Crane won, 8 and 7. I remember the next year, I think for the first three rounds I was even par for those three days. And I won every match. If I had been against anyone else in the field, I was going home. And I got to the final that year. Spieth last year lost his first match to Hideto Tanihara, and it wound up costing him a chance to advance to the weekend.
Even so, the Match Play comes at a good time for someone who has been trying to regain his putting touch, trying to keep pace with the leaders, trying to at least contend.
You may as well take your chances. Please direct all licensing questions to legal newscred. The Latest Stanford captures first major title at Evian. Back Jon Rahm e. That's not to say that you won't get surprise results along the way - Hideto Tanihara making the semis last year the strongest evidence - but, in general, the last man standing is usually one of golf's elite. Jason Day loves this format and shook some rust off last week but I'm going to plump for last year's runner-up, Jon Rahm , as my main pick.
Rahm ran into a player, Johnson, at the very peak of his powers in the final 12 months ago but still took him to the 17th hole. What really stood out that week were the crushing margins of victory. Speaking about Austin CC that week, the youngster said: I feel like all of us Spaniards really play good at match play because of our aggressive mindset.
I think that's why that mind-set really works well. Rahm doesn't overthink things and that looks a good asset in what is a long and draining week with potentially seven matches in five days.
His current form is a little short of ideal since he won the CareerBuilder Challenge in January. Back Rafa Cabrera Bello e. Rahm touched on the great match play records of Spaniards so, from the land of Seve and Ollie, I'll also have punt on Rafa Cabrera Bello.
In fact, sift back through his round scores over a much longer period and Cabrera Bello rarely has a bad day - an ideal quality for match play. From just four starts in Texas, he has a fourth Houston Open and a third and the latter came in this very event two years ago.
That is another reason why I think the course suits my game. One extra note he added was also of interest. The contours around the green are quite linksy with lots of run-off areas so it does resemble those sort of courses in that sense. He'll have to overcome Phil Mickelson in the group stage but Lefty's match play record is hit-and-miss so that doesn't put me off.
In short, he's a player with two top threes and a further top five in his last seven WGC events. Back Branden Grace e.