Australian Jason Day defeated American Rickie Fowler, 3 & 2, in the semifinal and Dubuisson in 23 holes in the final to hoist his first-ever WGC trophy at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona. Dubuisson defeated Ernie Els in the other semifinal. Fowler then defeated Els to close out third place.
Golf is in good hands.
Jason Day, all 26 years of him, was the elder statesman in Sunday’s final as he battled with the 23-year-old Dubuisson in a battle of the “youngest final” in match play history. Both of these players provided unbelievable theater as they were both in search of their second career win. Day punched ahead as he was three-up with six holes to play. Dubuisson, No. 27 in the world, had fought back and recovered lost causes all week and this final wasn’t any different. Needing to win the final two holes, Dubuisson did just that and forced the match to extra holes. He also made two of the most incredible up-and-downs that golf has seen under such pressure. He just came up short on the fifth and final extra hole as his birdie putt ran out of gas. Not bad for 23! Gamers are familiar with Day and his wonderful trait to grind out rounds of golf but the show that Dubuisson put on during the extra holes were nothing short of miraculous. Day kept his nerve and his short game sharp as his pitch on the fifth extra hole set up a birdie putt to clinch the trophy.
We all understand what kind of crapshoot match play can be for fantasy gamers but Jason Day has proved in his short career that he has the mentality to succeed in this format. In his four events at Dove Mountain, Day has finished T9, T17, third and now adds a victory to the CV. The reason gamers backed Day this week was he hits it mile and his short game and nerves are both solid. He makes tons of birdies. He usually hits last. He’s young and fearless. Those are excellent traits to have on a week like this. This win is his second in the last four months as he also won the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf in late November after he lost family members in a Typhoon. He opened his TOUR season in 2014 with T2 at Torrey Pines but was uninspiring with a T64 at Pebble Beach. If he’s healthy, there’s no reason for him not to be in the conversation at Augusta or Pinehurst or Royal Liverpool. Heck, any time he tees it up, he’s in the Range Rover column! Gamers who have moaned he hasn’t won enough, well, that’s fair but now it’s yesterday’s news. He’s settled into life in Columbus and his game is peaking. Get on board!
With this victory, Day collects $1,530,000, 550 FedExCup Points and his first WGC victory.
Déjà vu All Over Again?
After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013, the USA has now won the first 13 of 14 events of 2013-14. Harris English, Jimmy Walker (THREE), Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed, Scott Stallings, Kevin Stadler and Bubba Watson have collected the hardware this year for the stars and stripes. Jason Day is in his own category with his victory.
Jimmy Walker and Kevin Stadler are the only first-time winners this season. There were 12 in 40 events last year.
Only 17 of the 38, 54-hole leaders went on to win last year in full-field, stroke play events. I’m always trying to figure out if this is a trend or not. The math remains the same as there wasn’t any stroke play this week.
This is the first time the final match went to extra holes.
Victor Dubuisson is only 23. Jordan Spieth is only 20. They were both in the final eight. Both of them had never played in this event. Dubuisson had never played in a WGC EVENT! Age is just a number, gamers!
Kevin Sutherland remains the only winner of a WGC that did NOT represent his country in the Presidents or Ryder Cup.
This was the youngest finals pairing. Day becomes the fifth-youngest winner of a WGC event.
Dubuisson is the second-youngest player to make the final behind Rory McIlroy, 22, in 2012. McIlroy lost to Hunter Mahan.
The No. 1 overall seed, Henrik Stenson, was eliminated in the second round. No overall No. 1 seed has seen round three since 2008.
Young Guns versus Prime Time versus Old Guys
Jimmy Walker (34) started the season out on the right foot for the Prime Time guys and was joined by Ryan Moore (30) in Malaysia and Zach Johnson (37) at Kapalua now Kevin Stadler (33), at WMPO and now, Watson 35, keeps the Prime Time guys rolling. Walker has now added TWO more victories to the guys currently in their prime! Scott Stallings, 28, Patrick Reed (23), Chris Kirk (28), Webb Simpson (28), Dustin Johnson (29), Harris English, (24) and now, Jason Day, 26, are the twenty-somethings on the board. The Prime Time guys and Young Guns are level on seven wins a piece this season. The Old Guys are playing like old guys as they have zero wins this season. The Big Easy, Ernie Els, gave it a run making the final four before losing twice.