Last chance to take a record from Tiger Woods
by ANDREA GUSSONI | VIEW 2144
The American Matt Kuchar has the opportunity this week to beat one of the records still held by former world number 1 Tiger Woods in the Dell Technologies Match Play (World Match Play). In what will be the last edition of this WGC, Kuchar is one of the 64 players that will meet at the Austin Country Club and needs to win three games to break the record for wins in a tournament that dates back to 1999.
Kuchar is guaranteed the three duels of the group stage starting this Wednesday.
Tiger Woods, record
Kuchar has reached the 'Final Four' four times, with victory in 2013, defeat in the final against Kevin Kisner in 2019 and a semifinalist twice.
His career mark is 34-11-4 (wins, losses, ties). Woods, the only three-time World Match Play champion, has a 36-12 record. "This is an event that I love, a tournament that has been really good for me," Kuchar said after a training round on Tuesday.
"It's something I had my eye on and had to ask around a bit," he added. The Match Play was the most unique tournament of the World Series of Golf when it was established in 1999, and it will be the last to be played as such.
The WGC in Firestone, Ohio moved to Memphis in 2019 and then became a FedEx Cup playoff event two years later. The WGC, which initially alternated between the US and Europe (it was held in Spain for two years, specifically in Valderrama, Cádiz), moved to Doral (and absorbed a regular PGA Tour event), and then was played in Mexico City when A sponsor could not be found for the field owned by Donald Trump, closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The HSBC Champions in Shanghai has not been played since 2019 due to the pandemic, and the China Golf Association has not allowed it to resume. PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan does not expect that event to continue with the new schedule and so-called 'elevated' tournaments.
The Dell Match Play is played for the last time this 2023, a blow for lovers of match play (play by holes) and for the Texan town of Austin, which will be left without a tournament. It ends with a 'field' of 64 players who had to drop to 77th place in the world ranking to make up for the numerous absences, due to simple resignations (Justin Thomas's case) or LIV Golf (Cameron Smith among others).
"I guess I'm grateful to LIV for a lot of things," Kuchar said with a laugh, referring to this week's $20 million purse, which was part of the PGA Tour's response to the threat from the Saudi-funded Super League. . Kuchar can beat Woods' record by winning all three of his group stage matches, but that's never easy, whatever the opponents.
Kuchar is the 59th seed and will face Norway's Viktor Hovland, his compatriot Chris Kirk and South Korea's Si Woo Kim, all tournament winners in the last four months.