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19th Hole

Looking back at the extraordinary 2014 WGC-Match Play final: Day vs Dubuisson

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@skysportsgolf

Though we may be missing what was scheduled to be the 2020 WGC-Match Play this week, it seems like as good a time as any to delve into the vault and look back on a classic Match Play final.

Here I’ll take you back to what was one of the most memorable finals in recent history between Jason Day and Victor Dubuisson.

Day (26) had been tipped for greatness throughout his young career and had raced effortlessly to the final in the desert.

Less was known about Dubuisson (23). Despite a win a few months earlier at the Turkish Airlines Open, the Frenchman had appeared previously just three times stateside, failing to make much of an impression.

The Match

Dove Mountain, Arizona was the setting, and by the 13th hole, the match looked done and dusted, with the heavy favorite Day forging himself a 3up lead – before it began to slowly slip away.

Dubuisson took the 13th hole, but despite a birdie at the 15th, the Frenchman was staring down the barrel remaining 2down with two to play. Facing a 12-foot putt to stay alive on 17, Dubuisson held his nerve pouring the putt in the middle to take it to the last.

On the final hole, Dubuisson saved par from the bunker which left Day two putts from 68-feet to wrap up his first WGC title.

The Australian’s first putt settled 10-feet from the cup, and ready to capture the second PGA Tour title of his career, Day’s par attempt was dead-center from the moment the ball left his flat-stick. But he agonizingly failed to hit it, leaving it short and in the jaws and taking us to extra holes.

Back in 2014, as silly as it sounds knowing what we know in 2020, doubts lingered about Day’s ability to close. He had won just once on Tour (2010), had three times been the bridesmaid at majors and at the 2013 Masters held the lead with three holes to play before stumbling home with two fatal bogeys.

With Day losing a 3up lead with just six holes to play and then leaving his 10-foot putt on 18 for victory short, it seemed like the 26-year-old could be hit with another mental scar.

But those fears looked to alleviate themselves when on the first playoff hole his competitor found the base of a cactus.

The final will forever be remembered for the sequence of events that followed.

Dubuisson’s Magic

In any other circumstances, Dubuisson would likely have taken an unplayable. But in a do or die position, the Frenchman summoned up one of the most remarkable up and downs you’re likely to see – knocking the ball from the cactus to 4 feet from the hole and extending the match.

On the very next hole, Dubuisson found trouble again in the form of a bush surrounded by rocks. To do it once was remarkable, to do it twice was borderline ridiculous. But the enigmatic 23-year did just that, swiping at the ball, hitting it to 8-feet, holing the putt as if it was nothing and extending the final.

All Day could do was laugh or cry. He chose the former.

The After-Effect

Day would go on to win the final, birdieing the fifth playoff hole and perhaps changing the course of his career. Tagged with an inability to close before the WGC-Match Play win, this victory was undoubtedly the catalyst in the Australian’s career. Nineteen months after winning his second title on Tour, Day had racked up a further five victories, including his single major title to date at the 2015 PGA Championship.

For Dubuisson, later that year he would shine at the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, winning 2.5 points from three matches and was described by playing partner Graeme McDowell as “Europe’s next superstar”.

As of 2020, that proclamation has failed to materialize, with Dubuisson suffering massively with a perforated eardrum which saw him appear just twice in 2018, and he has since only twice claimed top-10 finishes on the European Tour.

Day didn’t trail once over his final 53 holes at the 2014 event, triumphing in the desert to kick start an incredible run that would see him climb to the summit of the sport.

But ask anyone who watched the 2014 WGC-Match Play final and their first recollection will almost always be the two extraordinary escapes the cool Frenchman gifted us to prove that sometimes there can be glory in defeat.

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Josh

    Mar 27, 2020 at 11:02 am

    Best back to back up and downs I’ve EVER seen. I still remember watching that event love and was in disbelief. Partly luck, bit for lightning to strike twice in a row….

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19th Hole

Tony Romo has the coolest golf cart you’ll ever see

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With temperatures floating above 100 degrees this week in Tyler, Texas, home of the Texas State Open, Tony Romo certainly came prepared.

That’s right, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback showed up with an air-conditioned golf cart with sliding doors.

Unfortunately, it may not have given him the leg up that he was hoping for, as Romo opened with a one-over-par 71, good for 86th place after round one.

At least he outlasted the other former NFL standout in the field, as Johnny Manziel’s first round 79 was certainly not as impressive. With a projected cut of one-under par, Romo certainly stands a decent chance to ride into the weekend in cooler temperatures.

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19th Hole

Johnny Manziel’s golf career already off to an adventurous start

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Earlier this year, Johnny Manziel made clear on his ambitions to play golf at the professional level. His first official competition, the Texas State Open, marked a fun opportunity for the former Heisman winning quarterback.

The tournament is being held in Manziel’s hometown of Tyler, Texas at the Cascades Club, a course that he has played countless times. With that being said, things got off to a rather inauspicious start for the former Cleveland Browns quarterback.

That’s right, Manziel was apparently unaware that he was supposed to wear pants, and he was forced to sacrifice any warm-up time to find some.

Beginning his round on the back nine, the former first round NFL draft pick somehow managed a two-over par 37. Unfortunately, the wheels came off on his second nine with a 42 that included three double bogeys. Manziel then backed up the opening round with a 75 and sits 5 shots adrift of second last plce.

Manziel remained optimistic, however, telling Tyler Morning Telegraph:

“It was great being on the home track. I had it going for awhile and just struggled on the front nine and just didn’t play the way I wanted to. It’s a good first experience for me and had to start somewhere, and this is a great place to do it back home.”

While the on-course product was less than stellar, it’s hard to knock the former football star’s attitude.

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19th Hole

2021 Tokyo Men’s Olympic Golf Competition: Full Viewer’s Guide

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For the first time in nearly five years, Olympic golf is back! 60 golfers from 35 different countries will be teeing it up this week at Kasumigaseki Country Club, a sprawling Charles Allison design that draws many visual similarities to Augusta National. Here’s a rundown of all the coverage you can tune into over the next four days.

All times Eastern

Round 1: Wednesday

6:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. on Golf Channel

6:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. on fuboTV and NBCOlympics.com

 

Round 2: Thursday

6:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. on Golf Channel

6:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. on fuboTV and NBCOlympics.com

 

Round 3: Friday

6:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. on Golf Channel

6:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m on fuboTV and NBCOlympics.com

 

Round 4: Saturday 

6:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. on Golf Channel

6:30 p.m to 3:30 a.m. on fuboTV and NBCOlympics.com

 

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