Photo: Darren Carroll for Getty Images
Tiger Woods lost in the first round of the Accenture Match Play yesterday to Charles Howell III.
It’s not a massive surprise that Woods was sent packing early. He hasn’t played well at Dove Mountain, the course that hosted the Match Play. He lost in the second round last year and the first round the time before that.
But it is surprising that he lost to Howell, because he was undefeated against Howell.
Howell and Woods have played against each other for years. They started as amateurs, then were members at the same golf club in Florida. Through the years, playing matches professionally and on the side for fun, Woods had always beaten Howell.
After the match, Howell estimated that he had lost 75 times in a row against Woods. He kept expecting Woods to eventually beat him, but it didn’t happen.
Woods didn’t play poorly yesterday. He missed a few shots here and there and lipped out a putt, but he didn’t have a single bogey. Howell just outplayed him. He was draining putts from all over the greens.
If you want to get a big picture story on Woods for this year from this loss, you’re out of luck. It was a freaky event — there was a snow storm that delayed Woods and Howell’s match. As we’ve already noted, Woods hates this course. He can’t get the greens figured out. And, it’s not like he played poorly. It was a good round.
We’ll get a better idea about Woods game next weekend when he plays at the Honda Classic in Florida. Woods was a two shots away from winning that event last year.
We suppose if you want to do the big picture thing, you could note that Woods aura of invincibility took another hit yesterday. But, really that’s been going on since 2009 when he lost to Y.E. Yang in the PGA Championship, and then a few months later when he crashed his car into a fire hydrant.
One other note from the tournament: Rory McIlroy also lost in the first round. Unlike Woods, McIlroy didn’t play well. Either his swing is rusty, or his new Nike equipment is giving him problems. He hasn’t played very much this year. This was just his third round of the year in competition.
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