Follow the Leader
For the second straight year, fans were allowed to follow behind the golfers in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship's final round.
With members of the Tucson Conquistadores holding a rope and walking about 30 yards behind the golfers, a throng followed Hunter Mahan and Matt Kuchar.
"It's so incredible," said Sue Watkins, who lives in both Bloomington, Ill., and, in the winters, SaddleBrooke. "Where else do you get to walk on the course like this?
"It's just amazing. It's a little chilly today, but it's OK."
She followed the final group last year, rooting for Rory McIlroy.
Sunday, she cheered for Kuchar - for an unusual reason.
"We followed Matt all day Friday, too," she said. "He's just a cutie.
"My best friend from Illinois is visiting, and Matt looks just like her husband and her son. He has that same expression on his face."
Sunday was certainly sweater weather. But hockey sweater weather?
John and Darlene Ready each wore Calgary Flames jerseys at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain.
"It's a way of letting our family at home be like, 'There they are!'" Darlene said.
The Canadians just retired and are spending their first winter in Arizona, living in San Tan Valley in northern Pinal County.
"We plan to be snowbirds," she said.
John wore a black alternate Flames jersey, Darlene the traditional red.
Both had their favorite player, Jarome Iginla's name and number. One was signed by the Flames' all-time scoring leader.
The Readys had another reason to wear the sweaters - the Flames hosted the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday. Calgary won 5-4.
"We wanted to show our support," Darlene said.
Despite brisk winds Sunday, the rounds went uninterrupted for only the second time in the tournament.
It capped the most delayed Match Play event since moving to Tucson.
Heck, Thursday alone accounted for more delayed time than 2007-2012, combined.
Consider: 2007 featured 83 minutes of delays; 2010 was 15 minutes; and 2011 was 35 minutes total, between two delays. Here's a look at the time missed this year, and why:
• Wednesday: 2-hour delay and then cancellation - hail, sleet and snow
• Thursday: 4 1/2-hour delay - snow accumulation and frost
• Saturday: 45-minute delay - frost
"I think I was hiding in my ski cap and ski mitts and did a good job of covering up any sort of nervousness."
Matt Kuchar, on the championship round
The big number
5Different countries faced by both Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan this week. Kuchar played golfers from Japan, Spain, Belgium, Australia and the U.S., while Mahan met those from Italy, South Africa, Germany, England and the U.S. Each is one off the record, set twice, by golfers facing opponents from six different countries over six rounds.
Another big number
8 Straight Americans to win on the PGA Tour this year. Last year, Americans won the first nine events.
"Who knew we needed to bring Al Roker this week?"
NBC Sports' Jimmy Roberts, on the weather
There was a $1 million difference Sunday between two wins and two losses. Here's a look at what Match Play's final four won:
• Winner: Matt Kuchar, $1.5 million
• Second: Hunter Mahan, $875,000
• Third: Jason Day, $615,000
• Fourth: Ian Poulter, $500,000
Others: Round of 8, $275,000; Sweet 16, $144,000; Round of 32, $96,000; and first round, $46,000.