Takeaways from the Match Play Championship

For an event that many argue its very exis­tence, the WGC-Accen­ture Match Play Cham­pi­onship pro­vid­ed a very excit­ing Sun­day after­noon of golf. Jason Day out­last­ed Vic­tor Dubuis­son to win the final match in 23 holes. Day squan­dered a three hole lead on the back nine, includ­ing being two up with two holes to play, only to with­stand prob­a­bly the great­est back-to-back up and downs in the his­to­ry of golf from Dubuis­son on the 19th and 20th holes.

On the 19th hole, being played on hole #1, Dubuisson’s sec­ond shot bounced over the green and into the desert, prompt­ing Nick Fal­do to exclaim “He’s ruined!”. He then pro­ceed­ed to hit an unbe­liev­able chip shot from next to a jump­ing cac­tus to with­in 5 feet. He made the putt, send­ing the match to the 20th hole.

The 20th hole was played on hole #9. Ear­li­er in the match on the 9th hole, Dubuis­son hit his approach shot left into the desert and end­ed up con­ced­ing the hole. He again hit his sec­ond shot left on this hole into the desert and under a branch. He hit his next shot through the branch to with­in 7 feet. He once again made the putt to send the match to the 21st hole.

After halv­ing the next two holes, Day won the 23rd hole with a birdie.

There are a few things a high hand­i­cap golfer can take away from this match.

First off, both Dubuis­son and Day had very good short games the whole day. So good, it prompt­ed Greg Nor­man to tweet the fol­low­ing.

It is so impor­tant to have a sol­id short game, yet this is an area that many high hand­i­cap and begin­ner golfers do not prac­tice near enough. Ded­i­cate week­ly prac­tice time for pitch­ing and chip­ping.

Both golfers showed tremen­dous men­tal strength. Dubuis­son stat­ed he only slept one hour the night before because he was ner­vous about play­ing Ernie Els in the morn­ing. He must have been phys­i­cal­ly drained after 41 holes of golf on Sun­day but it only showed on a few shots. His men­tal deter­mi­na­tion was strong the whole day. Day won the 9th hole and then did not win anoth­er hole until he won the match by win­ning the 23rd hole. He blew leads of 3 up on the back nine and 2 up with 2 holes to go. He had Dubuis­son all but dead on each of the first two extra holes only to see Dubuis­son make mirac­u­lous shots to extend the match. He could have col­lapsed but didn’t. He instead played the best golf of the two on the extra holes.

One last take­away from Sun­day is some­thing not to do. Don’t try to be a hero and hit a mirac­u­lous shot you can’t pull off. Dubuis­son only attempt­ed those two shots because he had no choice. It was attempt the shot or lose the match. I’m a big believ­er in mak­ing your own luck but even with that the golf­ing gods were smil­ing on Vic­tor. He actu­al­ly con­ced­ed the 9th hole ear­li­er in the match when he was in the desert. Unless play­ing the last hole in their flight of the club cham­pi­onship, a high hand­i­cap golfer has no rea­son to attempt a shot that they have lit­tle chance of pulling off. Take the unplayable lie and move on.

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