The big number
Money at stake in Sunday’s final two rounds. Match Play champion Jason Day took home $1.53 million, while the fourth-place finisher — Ernie Els — made $510,000. Runner-up Victor Dubuisson took home $906,000, while third-place finisher Rickie Fowler won $630,000.
Sunday’s CBS television coverage included a cameo by UA football coach Rich Rodriguez. Well ... we mostly saw his hips and backside.
Rodriguez was the subject of CBS’ “Help Me, Kostis” segment: Analyst Peter Kostis broke down the coach’s swing and gave him a few tips.
“Improve your posture. Get yourself athletic. Feel like you’re a linebacker,” Kostis said.
Close enough — Rodriguez played safety in college.
Rodriguez swung for the cameras earlier this week from the Arizona Stadium turf. His shot was laser straight, but we were more impressed by the quality of the slow-motion video: We could almost count the pieces of synthetic infill that flew from the ground when Rodriguez struck the ball.
Another big number
23 Number of holes needed for Jason Day to win Sunday’s Match Play championship, the most since the tournament final switched from 36 to 18 holes.
Hail to Victor
Victor Dubuisson didn’t sleep well Saturday night, and arrived at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain on Sunday morning “not feeling comfortable.”
He eventually figured out why.
“I realized I was in the semifinal of the World Golf Championship against Ernie Els,” he said. “I’m a big fan of Ernie’s, so I have always been watching him winning majors.”
Dubuisson did just fine, dispatching Els 1 up to advance to the championship match against Day. Dubuisson fell in 23 holes, but not before wowing the crowd — and a national television audience — with two par saves out of the desert. Both extended the match.
Tweet of the day
“Two of the greatest up-and-downs I have ever seen Victor!!!” — golf legend Tom Watson (@TomWatsonPGA) on Dubuisson’s desert artistry.
Tweet of the century
“This is simply fantastic stuff!! @Vdubush is Houdini, a magician with cajones!! Incroyable!! Allez.” — fellow golf legend Gary Player (@GaryPlayer), on Dubuisson
Maybe the only good part about attending a tournament that may not return next year? The discounts.
Both The Golf Club at Dove Mountain’s clubhouse store and the Match Play gift shop offered 20 percent to 30 percent off their regularly priced shirts, jackets and hats. We picked up some discounted gear at the pro shop, snagging a Nike pullover with a WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship logo for 20 percent off the $79.99 asking price. (Yes, that’s still a lot of money. Leave us alone.)
Deals can be had at Match Play, if you know where to look. For instance, fans who spent more than $80 at the gift shop earlier in the week received complimentary tickets to Sunday’s championship round.
Day of the Desert
Day never concedes holes. Except, well …
Match Play’s most intense competitor gave Fowler the No. 9 hole in their semifinal match after shanking three consecutive shots, the final two in the desert. Day’s approach shot landed in rocks to the left of the green. After clearing stones out of his way, he hacked a ball into a cactus pad. Day tried to avoid the prickly stuff, attempting his next shot left-handed. It went about 6 inches. Day gave up.
Ol’ number 87
Anyone can play with a ball numbered, say, 1-3. Day uses a No. 87. His TaylorMade Penta TPs are emblazoned with the number, a nod to both his Australian nationality and age. Day was born in 1987; the number 87 is also a bad-luck number in cricket.
Outfit of the day
Rickie Fowler finally looked like Rickie Fowler. The Oklahoma State product wore a bright orange hat, bright orange shirt and plaid pants for his third-place match against Els. It was a nice change for Fowler, who had been wearing muted (by his standards) colors all week.
— Ryan Finley