Greg Hansen: Match Play field has plenty of characters, stories

2014-02-19T00:00:00Z 2014-02-19T18:09:02Z Greg Hansen: Match Play field has plenty of characters, storiesGreg Hansen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Introducing, in order of appearance, the world’s 64 leading golfers, give or take a Tiger or a Phil, at today’s opening round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships:

Ian Poulter: Once made a video of his children eating cereal out of the Ryder Cup trophy.

Rickie Fowler: Has 611,000 Twitter followers and a new, grown-up haircut.

Jimmy Walker: Is an astronomy geek; he has more photographs of the Milky Way than he does his three recent PGA Tour victories.

Branden Grace: Only man in history to win his first four starts on the European Tour. The first? The Joburg Open, 2012.

Bubba Watson: With a buzz cut, he could pass for UA basketball player Matt Korcheck. Google it.

Mikko Ilonen: Second-most accomplished Finnish golfer ever, behind LPGA’s Minea Blomqvist.

Keegan Bradley: Grew up in Woodstock, Vermont, which is 20 miles from UA center Kaleb Tarczewski’s hometown on the Interstate-91 corridor in Claremont, N.H.

Jonas Blixt: In Swedish, Blixt means “lightning bolt.”

Steve Stricker: At the final Chrysler Classic of Tucson, February 2006, he tied for 30th with Yuma club pro Don Yrene.

George Coetzee: Played golf for ASU coach Tim Mickelson, Phil’s brother, while at the University of San Diego.

Graham DeLaet: Snow flurries and a high of 38 are expected today in his old hometown, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

Patrick Reed: Led tiny Augusta (Ga.) State to back-to-back NCAA titles in 2010 and 2011, one more than Arizona’s noted men’s golf program has won.

Jordan Spieth: Won the John Deere Classic last summer at 19; youngest PGA Tour winner since Ralph Guldahl won Santa Monica Open in 1931.

Pablo Larrazabal: Before turning pro, his father put him to work on the family fish farm near Santander, Spain, to learn responsibility and the value of money.

Thomas Bjorn: Won his first event, the Loch Lomond World Invitational, when he was 26. Won his last, at 43, three months ago.

Francesco Molinari: His lone Match Play victory in four years was against today’s opponent, Thomas Bjorn.

Sergio Garcia: His sister, Mar Garcia Hernandez, is a former Arizona Wildcats golfer who is married to Spanish soccer superstar Pablo Hernandez.

Marc Leishman: Was PGA Tour’s 2009 Rookie of the Year, an award first presented in 1990, to former Arizona All-American Robert Gamez.

Bill Haas: His father, Jay Haas, won nine PGA Tour titles, but the best golfer in the family is probably great uncle Bob Goalby, who won the 1968 Masters.

Miguel Angel Jimenez: The “Mechanic’’ turned 50 last month and continues to lead the Tour in cigars smoked.

Dustin Johnson: Good news for Johnson: Mark Wilson, who eliminated Johnson in 2011 and 2012, did not qualify this year.

Peter Hanson: Losing in Match Play won’t compare to being 0-2 in 2012 Ryder Cup and being benched for three matches.

Victor Dubuisson: How did a 23-year-old Frenchman get to Dove Mountain? He won the Turkish Airlines Open in November.

Kevin Streelman: He’s from Duke’s Class of 2001; avid fan of Blue Devils who beat Arizona in that year’s NCAA title game.

Jason Day: The 2011 Masters runner-up named his son Dash. Dash Day. Uber cool.

Thorbjorn Olesen: The Danish golfer employs six people on what he calls “My Team”: a coach, a caddie, a manager, a trainer, a brand management supervisor and a PR director in Denmark.

Jamie Donaldson: In his 255th start on the European Tour, the Welshman won his first title, the Irish Open in 2012.

Billy Horschel: Expect some orange in his RLX (Ralph Lauren) shirts wardrobe this week; Horschel is a noted Florida Gator basketball fan.

Matt Kuchar: After playing in Sony Open last month, the defending Accenture champion stayed in Hawaii for a four-week vacation.

Bernd Wiesberger: Posted on his Facebook page Tuesday that it was 26 degrees in Tucson. Hasn’t figured out the Fahrenheit conversion yet.

Ryan Moore: Famous for not having sponsors in 2009, Moore finally gave in, playing Adams clubs, wearing Shift4 shirts and also endorsing iPad.

Joost Luiten: Given name is Willibrordus Adrianus Maria Luten. Really.

Charl Schwartzel: His five losses at Dove Mountain all came at the 18th hole or in sudden-death play.

Kevin Stadler: The Baby Walrus is all grown up.

Jim Furyk: Was never the No.  1 player at UA during his college days.

Chris Kirk: Beat runner-up Briny Baird in 2013 McGladrey Classic, extending Baird’s tournament winless streak to 365 events.

Graeme McDowell: First player to openly criticize Dove Mountain golf course and say he didn’t like it.

Gary Woodland: He’s no Bubba, but his 303-yard-per-drive average is No. 5 on the tour.

Hideki Matsuyama: Third-most famous Japanese athlete in the United States named Hideki, behind baseball players Hideki Matsui and Hideki Irabu.

Martin Kaymer: Hard to believe: Kaymer was world’s No.  1- ranked golfer after runner-up finish here in 2011.

Brandt Snedeker: You’ll recognize him by his golf bag. It says “SNEDS.”

David Lynn: Remember when Derek Ernst, a student of Tucson golf instructor Susie Meyers, won the 2013 Wells Fargo tour event as the world’s No. 1,207 golfer? Lynn was the runner-up.

Webb Simpson: Most famous American named Webb since iconic “Dragnet’’ actor Jack Webb.

Thongchai Jaidee: Was a paratrooper in the Royal Thai Army; didn’t turn pro until he was 30.

Jason Dufner: Out-kicked his coverage in marriage category.

Scott Stallings: Has his own clothing line, SS, with baby-wear and women’s gear.

Luke Donald: Went from first (won Match Play in 2011) to worst (lost first-round match to Ernie Els) in 2012.

Matteo Manassero: Made cut at Masters when he was 16, but still not old enough to drink in Arizona; he turns 21 in April.

Rory McIlroy: Said Tuesday the thin air in Tucson allows him to hit a 7-iron 210 yards.

Boo Weekley: Graduate of Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College. That’s ABAC, in the heart of Tifton, Ga.

Lee Westwood: Most familiar pairing at Dove Mountain is Westwood and Nick Watney; they played one another in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Harris English: Has already earned $2,170,397 in official Tour earnings — and it’s still February.

Zach Johnson: Ranked No. 128 in driving distance, 288 yards, but still doesn’t get to play from the white tees.

Richard Sterne: One of shortest players, 5 feet 7 inches, on PGA Tour, but still an inch taller than South African countryman Gary Player.

Hunter Mahan: Owner of one of the all-time marches at Dove Mountain, taking down Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar and Rory McIlroy to win 2012 title.

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano: He won’t be fazed by match play: four of his seven European Tour victories were in sudden death playoffs.

Henrik Stenson: His voice and tone is so similar to that of John Lennon that he could do voice-overs.

Kiradech Aphibanrat: Also known as Anujit Hirunratankorn in Thailand.

Louis Oosthuizen: Travel from home in South Africa to Tucson was no problem for Oosthuizen; he is sponsored by NetJets, which flies him privately to global events.

Nick Watney: His cousin is Heidi Watney, MLB Network sideline reporter and former Miss California contestant.

Justin Rose: On his way to the 2013 U.S. Open championship, Rose was humbled by missing the cut in his first 21 pro events.

Scott Piercy: Muni players rejoice: Piercy uses a baseball grip just like you do.

Ernie Els: Intended to enroll at Arizona when he left high school in South Africa but was rerouted to military service.

Stephen Gallacher: Won the Dubai Desert Classic two weeks ago, his third win in 471 tournaments, two at Dubai.

That is all. See you at the Sunday finale, Steve Stricker vs. Jordan Spieth.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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