VIDEO: Rory McIlroy’s errant shot triggers attack of the jumping cholla
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour
Rory McIlroy said on Tuesday that the par-4 drivable 15th could be a big “turning point” in a match. Well, he ended up conceding the hole to Boo Weekley after hitting an errant drive that left his ball pinned up against a rock in the desert. It only got better — or worse, depending on how you see it. 

In the video above, McIlroy’s second shot ricocheted off some fans and/or some cacti (it’s unclear) into a gully. One spectator reacted with such gusto that he fell (or jumped) into a jumping cholla — the pesky and potentially painful cactus that you don’t want to get pricked with or else you’ll be covered in scary massive chunks of it and in a world of pain.

Hope the poor guy is feeling OK. Watch the video if you want a good laugh. No, we’re not being insensitive — we sympathize with the fella, but the whole thing is quite hilarious.

Oh, by the way, McIlroy still won the match 2&1.

Meanwhile…I was busy all day doing on-air interviews and features for Fox Sports in Asia and I think Day 1 was a success (especially considering it was my debut)! That said, I’m exhausted, but I’ll leave you with some notes.

*When I asked Henrik Stenson for his game plan tomorrow, he quipped with a mischievous smile, “Full-on aerial attack!”

*Jason Day put a new flat stick in his bag and it’s feeling good. He took the lines off the top of it because he likes to just look at the leading edge and not be distracted by the extraneous marks.

*Rickie Fowler, who has missed the cut in his last three starts, took down THE Match Play King Ian Poulter 2&1. He’ll face Jimmy Walker, the hottest golfer on the planet, tomorrow. Rickie started working with swing coach Butch Harmon a few months ago. Harmon also teaches Walker. Rickie joked he wondered who Butch was rooting for…

Matches decided in extra holes:

Five matches were decided in extra holes during the first round.  The tournament record for first-round matches going to extra holes is 8, set in 2011.

Match 9 – Sergio Garcia (No. 6) defeated Marc Leishman (No. 60), 22 holes

Match 19 – Graeme McDowell (No. 14) defeated Gary Woodland (No. 51), 19 holes

Match 21 – Brandt Snedeker (No. 16) defeated David Lynn (No. 49), 20 holes

Match 23 – Jason Dufner (No. 15) defeated Scott Stallings (No. 50), 19 holes

Match No. 32 – Ernie Els (No. 31) defeated Stephen Gallacher (No. 33), 19 holes

All-time Accenture Match Play Championship First-Round Results:

2014 – 23 of 32 matches won by top seed (event record)

History of upsets (lower seed defeating higher seed)

Year     Round 1

2014     9 (event record low — which is weird because it seemed like upset city early on)

How the number-one seeds fared:

Bobby Jones Bracket: Henrik Stenson (No. 1) defeated Kiradech Aphibarnrat (No. 64), 2 and 1

Gary Player Bracket: Justin Rose (No. 2) defeated Scott Piercy (No. 63), 1 up

Sam Snead Bracket: Richard Sterne (No. 62) defeated Zach Johnson (No. 3), 5 and 4

Ben Hogan Bracket: Rory McIlroy (No. 4) defeated Boo Weekley (No. 61), 3 and 2

First-time participants (underlined), first-round results (Reed and Dubuisson are the only players competing in his first World Golf Championships event):

Jordan Spieth (No. 10) defeated Pablo Larrazabal (No. 55), 2 up

Hideki Matsuyama (No. 19) defeated Martin Kaymer (No. 46), 2 and 1

Jimmy Walker (No. 21) defeated Brendan Grace (No. 44), 5 and 4

Victor Dubuisson (No. 27) defeated Kevin Streelman (No. 38), 5 and 4

Harris English (No. 36) defeated Lee Westwood (No. 29), 5 and 3

Billy Horschel (No. 40) defeated Jamie Donaldson (No. 25), 6 and 5

Patrick Reed (No. 41) defeated Graham DeLaet (No. 24), 1 up

Jonas Blixt (No. 43) defeated Keegan Bradley (No. 22), 2 and 1

Henrik Stenson (No. 1) defeated Kiradech Aphibarnrat (No. 64), 2 and 1

Sergio Garcia (No. 6) defeated Marc Leishman (No. 60), 22 holes

Matt Kuchar (No. 7) defeated Bernd Wiesberger (No. 58), 3 and 2

Bubba Watson (No. 11) defeated Mikko Ilonen (No. 54), 2 and 1

Charl Schwartzel (No. 13) defeated Kevin Stadler (No. 52), 3 and 2

Jason Dufner (No. 15) defeated Scott Stallings (No. 50), 19 holes

Jim Furyk (No. 20) defeated Chris Kirk (No. 45), 2 and 1

Ryan Moore (No. 26) defeatd Joost Luiten (No. 39), 1 up

First-round match highlights

Match No. 1 – Rickie Fowler (No. 53) defeated Ian Poulter (No. 12), 2 and 1

Rickie Fowler hasn’t advanced past round one since his Accenture Match Play Championship debut in 2011, when he made it to round three before losing to Matt Kuchar, 2 and 1.  With a 2-3 record entering the 2013 event, he faced a formidable opponent in 2010 Accenture Match Play Championship winner – and Ryder Cup standout –  Ian Poulter (22-11 record entering this year’s event).

Fowler never trailed in his round-one match with the Englishman, winning No. 4 with a birdie to take a 1 up lead. He stretched his lead to 3 up through seven holes, thanks to bogeys by Poulter on Nos. 6 and 7. Poulter lost the 13th hole with a birdie when Fowler holed a 36-1/2-foot eagle putt.  Poulter won the next hole with a 16-footer for birdie, but the 2-up lead with four to play proved to be too much ground to make up.

After winning the Accenture Match Play Championship in 2010, Poulter made an early exit from the event the next two years, losing in the first rounds to Stewart Cink (19 holes) in 2011 and to Sang Moon Bae (4 and 3) in 2012.  He rebounded in 2013, finishing fourth after losing to Jason Day in the Consolation Match.  This year, he was bounced in the first round for the fourth time in 11 starts.  Poulter’s record is now 22-12.

Match 9 – Sergio Garcia (No. 6) defeated Marc Leishman (No. 60), 22 holes

Match-play veteran Sergio Garcia defeated first-timer Marc Leishman in 22 holes; this was the longest match of the first round of the 2014 Accenture Match Play Championship. It was also the longest match since the first round of the 2011 tournament, when Matt Kuchar beat Anders Hansen in 22 holes.

This was the longest match in Garcia’s 12 starts at the Accenture Match Play Championship. Previously, his longest matches were 20 holes (2000: R1 – beat Loren Roberts; 2013: R1 – beat Thongchai Jaidee) and 19 holes (2005: R2 – beat Jerry Kelly; 2007: R1 – beat Darren Clarke).

Garcia is the only one of the four Spanish players in the field to advance to the second round.

Leishman hit 17 of 22 greens (77.3%) and only had one bogey for the round on the 18th hole in his Accenture Match Play Championship debut.

Match No. 19 – Graeme McDowell (No. 14) defeated Gary Woodland (No. 51), 19 holes

Graeme McDowell was 3 down with three to play in his first-round match against Gary Woodland, but went on to win in extra holes thanks to a bogey by Woodland on No. 16, a 13-footer for birdie on No. 17 and a concession by Woodland on No. 18 (Woodland’s approach missed the green and he flew his bunker shot over the green and into another bunker; his third shot came up short on the fringe).

McDowell won the match with a 6-foot-1-inch birdie putt on No. 1, the first extra hole. He recorded more birdies than anyone else in round one with nine.

McDowell’s Accenture Match Play Championship record improves to 7-7.  He is 2-0 in matches that have gone extra holes (defeated Alexander Noren, R2, 2013).  His best finish in seven previous starts in the event is a T5 in 2013.

Woodland is 0-2 at the Accenture Match Play Championship (lost to Charl Schwartzel in R1, 2012).


Match No. 24 – Matteo Manassero (No. 47) defeated Luke Donald (No. 18), 5 and 4

Matteo Manassero defeated 2011 champion Luke Donald 5 and 4 in the first round. This is just the second time in 10 starts at the Accenture Match Play Championship that Donald has been knocked out in the first round. He was also beaten in the first round in 2012 by Ernie Els.

This is the second time Donald and Manassero squared off at the Accenture Match Play Championship. Their previous match was in round three of the 2011 event, when Donald won 3 and 2.

Manassero grabbed the lead on the first hole and held onto it for the rest of the round, eventually extending it to five – he also went bogey free and collected six birdies for the round.

Match No. 25 – Rory McIlroy (No. 4) defeated Boo Weekley (No. 61), 3 and 2

Rory McIlroy entered the Accenture Match Play Championship ranked No. 1 overall in 2013 and was knocked out in the first round by Shane Lowry; he made sure that wouldn’t happen again, going 3 up through nine holes, enough of a lead over Boo Weekley to win his first-round match, 3 and 2.  The cushion came in handy on No. 15, when McIlory’s drive found the waste area to the left of the green and he failed to advance his second shot, eventually losing the hole to fall to 2 up.  He won the next hole with a par to close out the match.

McIlroy’s Accenture Match Play Championship record improves to 11-5.  His best finish came in 2012 when he lost in the Championship Match to Hunter Mahan, 2 and 1, to finish second.

This is only McIlroy’s second start of the 2013-14 PGA TOUR season. He finished T6 at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.

Weekley was making his third Accenture Match Play Championship start, but first since 2009.  His best finish was a T9 in his tournament debut in 2008.

Match No. 26 – Harris English (No. 36) defeated Lee Westwood (No. 29), 5 and 3

Harris English won in his first Accenture Match Play Championship start, defeating match-play veteran Lee Westwood, who had played 26 career matches coming into today.  Westwood lost his first-round match last year in 19 holes to Rafael Cabrera-Bello, also a first-time Accenture Match Play Championship participant.

Westwood’s record at the event is now 11-16.  He has lost in the first round six of 14 times, with his best finish coming in 2012 when he finished fourth.

Match No. 27 – Richard Sterne (No. 62) defeated Zach Johnson (No. 3), 5 and 4

Richard Sterne upset top-Sam Snead Bracket seed Zach Johnson to win the second first-round match of his career (four starts).  Sterne went bogey-free, posting six birdies to win seven holes and never trailed in his match, compared to Johnson’s two-birdie, two-bogey effort.

Johnson has now lost in the first round for the fourth consecutive time and seventh overall in 10 career Accenture Match Play Championship starts.

Round 2 Pairings and Starting Times
Thursday 2/20/14

Tee /Time /Players

1 09:20 AM Match 33 Sergio Garcia vs Bill Haas

1 09:32 AM Match 34 Rickie Fowler vs Jimmy Walker

1 09:44 AM Match 35 Peter Hanson vs Victor Dubuisson

1 09:56 AM Match 36 Bubba Watson vs Jonas Blixt

1 10:08 AM Match 37 Jason Day vs Billy Horschel

1 10:20 AM Match 38 George Coetzee vs Patrick Reed

1 10:32 AM Match 39 Matt Kuchar vs Ryan Moore

1 10:44 AM Match 40 Jordan Spieth vs Thomas Bjorn

1 10:56 AM Match 41 Rory McIlroy vs Harris English

1 11:08 AM Match 42 Charl Schwartzel vs Jim Furyk

1 11:20 AM Match 43 Richard Sterne vs Hunter Mahan

1 11:32 AM Match 44 Graeme McDowell vs Hideki Matsuyama

1 11:44 AM Match 45 Henrik Stenson vs Louis Oosthuizen

1 11:56 AM Match 46 Brandt Snedeker vs Webb Simpson

1 12:08 PM Match 47 Justin Rose vs Ernie Els

1 12:20 PM Match 48 Jason Dufner vs Matteo Manassero