Scaling the Heights
by Lewine Mair, www.globalgolfpost.com
The ups and downs of match play, coupled with the ups and downs of Finca Cortesin are just what Graeme McDowell needs going into this week’s Volvo World Match Play Championship. They will serve as the perfect antidote to the “flat feeling” which saw the 2010 US Open champion tumbling down the leader-board on the final day of last week’s Players championship at Sawgrass.
Even now, he has shaken off the disappointment and the jet-lag and is revelling in the prospect of teeing up on Thursday morning against Louis Ooshuizen, the 2010 Open champion. “This is a great course for match-play,” said McDowell, in a sentiment echoed by all of the 24
Apart from McDowell and Ooshuizen, Volvo have Martin Kaymer, the USPGA champion, and Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, to complete their set of major champions. At the same time, they can point to two
more out-and-out stars in the World No.1 and the World No. 2 – respectively Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.
The 24 players have been divided into eight groups of three, of whom eight competitors will go through to the weekend.
Usually, there are those who will look at the draw and convince themselves that they are in an easy section. That, though, would not seem to be the case this week. “There are absolutely no easy groups,” confirmed Donald, with a bemused shake of the head.
Donald may have won this year’s Accenture Match-Play championship and have a great record in Walker and Ryder Cups but he is only too well aware that the other men in his group have some pretty impressive match-play results on their CVs. Ryan Moore is a former US Amateur
champion, while Ross Fisher won the Volvo here two years ago.
Donald, you would have to think, might just have the edge in terms of confidence… Since winning the Accenture, he has never been out of the top ten, with his fourth place at Sawgrass paving the way for his second slot on the Rankings.
“It’s been a good time,” he acknowledged. “Obviously, Tiger’s given us all a chance to go for that No.1 spot but it’s been fun to see myself getting nearer to the top.”
It was Kaymer who suggested that if you could invent the perfect golfer, he would have Westwood’s long game and Donald’s short-game.
With Westwood this week’s first seed and Donald the second, there is always the chance that the pair will meet in the Sunday’s final. And if that should happen, spectators will be able to see for themselves which
of those two attributes – the best long game in the world or the best short game – counts for more on the day.