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8 months ago

Day survives the magic of Dubuisson in Match Play

MARANA - Jason Day won the Match Play Championship on Sunday by surviving the amazing par saves of Victor Dubuisson.

The most riveting event in its 16-year history ended on the 23rd hole at Dove Mountain when Day rolled in a routine birdie putt from 4 feet on the 15th hole. It was his first World Golf Championship.

Nothing else about this day was routine.

Dubuisson hit out of a cactus behind the first green, up the thick grass and onto the green to stay in the match on the 19th hole. On the 20th hole, he smashed wedge through a desert bush to get to his ball and watched it roll to 7 feet for another par.

But the Frenchman ran out of magic on the 23rd hole.

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9 months ago

VIDEO: Cactus attacks Rory McIlroy fan at Match Play

In the opening round of the World Golf Championships - Accenture Match Play Championship, Rory McIlroy struggles to punch out from the desert at the par-4 15th hole while a fan is attacked by a jumping cholla cactus.

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9 months ago

PHOTOS: Scenes from Match Play

TUCSON - The official start to the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship has begun.

Here's Rory McIlroy:

Nick Watney says hi to some fans:

Check out some of these photos taken by John Batbie of the event. Matteo Manassas signs autographs:

Here are more photos taken by John Batbie:

Here's Luke Donald:

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9 months ago

No decision on Accenture Match Play likely until after tourney ends

MARANA - As 64 of the world's best professional golfers prepare for the Accenture Match Play Championship, it's future remains in limbo.

The tournament officially kicks off Wednesday morning at Dove Mountain. Accenture Match Play has enjoyed eight years in Southern Arizona and gone through two separate contracts.

Accenture's contract for 2014 is wrapping up and a cloud of uncertainty hovers over the start of this year's competition, as there is a possibility Southern Arizona could lose Match Play altogether.

"I hope that we can come again. We hope it's not the last year," said Karen Meenakshi, a devoted fan from Tucson as she collected autographs.

Neal Whiteman is president of the Tucson Conquistadores, which is the driving force behind the tournament at Dove Mountain. He said the decision-making process is ongoing.

"There's a lot of moving pieces to it and we're not sure what's going to happen and I'm not sure if the PGA and Accenture exactly quite know what's going to happen yet," Whiteman said.

The negotiations with the PGA are taking place in Florida and remain confidential.

"We've had a really good run and we hope it continues but if it doesn't then we're going to go to a contingency plan. As the Conquistador Group we've had golf here since 1966 and we plan on having golf here next year in one form or another," Whiteman told News 4 Tucson.

While Accenture officials insist that no official decision has been made yet, Whiteman said that if Match Play does leave, they could be looking at bringing in a new PGA event altogether.

Still, as this tournament gets under way there is a sense of urgency in showing off what Arizona has to offer.

"We are working hard to make this event the best experience -- fan experience -- we can have," said Gerald Goodman, the Executive Director of the Accenture Match Play Championship.

"Accenture likes where they stay with their guests. They like the golf course here, so all that will play into negotiations either with Accenture or with another company. This is a great spot," Goodman said.

Whiteman said that we can expect a final decision to come some time after the tournament concludes.

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9 months ago

Future of tournament uncertain as Accenture Match Play gets underway

MARANA - Some of the best golfers in the world are gearing up for the Accenture Match Play Championship. The possibility that the tournament will not return to Southern Arizona next year was on everyone's mind throughout the first day of practice.

Match Play is bringing 64 of the top 67 professional golfers to Dove Mountain this year.

The weather conditions of the initial practices on Monday were in stark contrast from a year ago.

Last year snow forced delays of Match play, costing Accenture nearly $250,000.

Monday's practice swings were done in a much warmer climate.

"The weather is gorgeous right now and I can't imagine it leaving this area in the future," said Bill Weyers, who comes out to Match Play every year.

As Jim Furyk made his practice swings, the University of Arizona graduate said the tournament has been plagued by uncertain weather in recent history.

"Honestly this tournament has been snake bitten by weather for years. Last year it came to a head with the snow but I can't remember the last time we had good weather to be honest with you," Furyk said.

Still, there is some hope for the tournament remaining in Southern Arizona as the pros and spectators enjoyed an undeniably great start in terms of weather.


"The sky is bluer, the cactus is greener... The birds are tweeting louder... People getting autographs ... People having a great time," said Gerald Goodman, the Executive Director for the Accenture Match Play Championship.


Goodman said it's hard to walk way from weather like this but admits that talks are currently going on across the country concerning the future of the tournament.


"This is the last year of the contract with Accenture the company. Negotiations for the future of this event and where we're going to be... That's all happening down in Florida in the home office of the PGA Tour. We're working hard to make it the best 2014 it can be," Goodman told News 4 Tucson.

No decision has officially been made regarding the future of the tournament, Goodman said.

Here are some photos from today's practice round:

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9 months ago

Pro golfers settle in for Match Play

Some of the best golf players are checking in at the Dove Mountain Ritz Carlton.

University of Arizona alumn Jim Furyk:

They're settling in for the Accenture Match Play Championship.

Practice rounds start Monday. Round one officially starts Wednesday.

9 months ago

Stricker to Match Play after brother gets liver

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Steve Stricker says he is going to the Match Play Championship now that his brother had a successful liver transplant.

Stricker was leaning toward not going to Arizona as his 50-year-old brother, Scott Stricker, was waiting on a transplant. He says he has been practicing, but his mind has not been on golf and it would be a long shot if something didn't happen soon.

Later that evening on Thursday, a donor became available. Stricker says the surgery went better than expected.

He says his parents have encouraged him to play next week. It will be his first start of the year.

Stricker is No. 12 in the world and a past champion of this World Golf Championship. The tournament starts Wednesday at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz.

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9 months ago

Woods to skip Match Play Championship in Arizona

Tiger Woods is skipping the Match Play Championship in Marana in two weeks.

Woods announced on his website Thursday that he wasn't planning to compete in the first World Golf Championship. He says his plan was to attend the Sochi Olympics in Russia before his girlfriend and champion skier Lindsey Vonn got injured.

Instead, he will stay home and prepare for three tournaments in Florida. He'll next play the Honda Classic on Feb. 27 followed by title defenses at Doral and Bay Hill.

This was the first time Woods has missed the Match Play Championship when healthy and the tournament was held in America.

This means the Match Play will be without three of the top players in the world -Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott.

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10 months ago

Accenture Match Play future uncertain

MARANA - Accenture is not renewing its title sponsorship of the Match Play World Golf Championship near Tucson, according to Golfweek.

The PGA would not confirm the report to News 4 Tucson.

PGA Vice President of Communications, Laura Neal, emailed a statement, "Neither the PGA TOUR nor Accenture has made any official announcement on the future title sponsorship of the event or its location. We are all placing 100 percent of our energy and focus on putting the best possible event together for 2014."

Match Play might not be in Arizona in 2015, depending on a new sponsor, according to Golfweek.

Lo Esencial is a new restaurant at Dove Mountain Boulevard and Tangerine Road. The owner closed the Dove Mountain Grill in September and reopened in December with a new concept. The executive chef, Bryan Smith, hopes the exposure during Match Play will help the business succeed.

"Being right down the road, we're hoping that we get a lot of flow in there," Smith said. "And it's a chance to obviously increase our profit margin for a little spurt."

Smith has also lived in the area about 5 years.

"Being a golfer myself, I would be very sad about [the event leaving]." He said. "I've gone to the event a couple years myself, and I really enjoyed it, to be able to see pros you see on TV up close and personal."

Nobody has conducted an official study, but some estimate Match Play has a regional economic impact of about $75 million, according to Town of Marana Public Information Officer, Rodney Campbell.

"The thing that we get that's most easily calculated is worldwide exposure. This event is shown on TV in more than 200 countries," Campbell said. "Maybe they look at it and they think that's the type of place they would like to come and visit."

The Town of Marana supports the tournament financially with police and traffic support, but it receives an increase in tax revenue during the week, according to Campbell.

"We really don't want to see it go," Campbell said. "Because it is a nice outlet for people to get to know Marana and see everything that we have here."

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