BBC Sport golf


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 21:38 GMT, Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Ian Poulter bemused by early World Match Play tee-time

Ian Poulter
Poulter defeated fellow Englishman Paul Casey in last year's final

Ian Poulter said he was surprised to be handed the opening tee-time for the first round of the World Match Play Championship in Tucson on Wednesday.

The Englishman, who won in 2010 and faces Stewart Cink in the first round, said "you don't want to know" when asked for his thoughts on the tee time.

"I mean 0725 [local time, 1425 GMT], defending champion, how many people are going to be through the gates?

"But I don't think it matters, it will be the same for both of us - cold."

Poulter tees off against United States Ryder Cup rival Cink in the opening pair at Dove Mountain, Arizona where the Englishman posted his most significant career win a year ago.

We love it as players. It is fun to go head-to-head

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods, a three-time winner of the Match Play event, starts against Denmark's Thomas Bjorn, while left-hander Phil Mickelson takes on Australian Brendan Jones.

Woods said that he was hoping a switch to matchplay could reignite his career.

"We don't get a chance to play too many matchplay events," he commented. "We play strokeplay all the time.

"We love it as players. It is fun to go head-to-head."

World number one Lee Westwood will face Sweden's Henrik Stenson at 1905 GMT (1205 local).

Former winner Stenson, who was first reserve, came in after Japan's Toru Taniguchi withdrew with neck trouble.

Englishman Westwood, who ended Woods' reign of more than five years at the top of the world rankings at the end of October 2010, is top seed for the 64-player event.

In 10 appearances in the tournament, the 37-year-old from Worksop has never made it beyond the second round and has yet to win a World Golf Championship event.

We're trying to push the game around the world and trying to create enthusiasm in places like China - you ought to take these big tournaments to those places

Lee Westwood

Westwood has had second-place finishes in all three of the WGC strokeplay events, just as he has in the Open and Masters, but he even considered staying away from the Match Play for a while because of his record and its scheduling so early in the season.

"The first day is probably one of the most exciting days of the year as far as golf spectators are concerned, watching all the different matches going on, but there are no easy games," he reflected.

"I've played pretty well here, but you occasionally run up against people that are playing well."

Westwood's position at the top of the rankings is once again under threat from both Germany's Martin Kaymer and Woods, but the Englishman said he did not feel under any extra pressure.

However, he conceded that the demands off the course had increased since he took top spot at the end of last year.

He said: "I didn't realise the massive jump to going to world number one - the demands on your time and doing interviews and things. Profile elevation, I guess.

"So that's the main thing you have to get your head around, time management, saying 'No' a lot."

Lee Westwood
Westwood took over at the top of the rankings last year

Having turned down PGA Tour membership, Westwood added that he would like to see more than just one of the World Championship events outside the United States.

"I think there's a bit too much in the United States," he said. "We're trying to push the game around the world and trying to create enthusiasm in places like China and around Asia and South America.

"You ought to take these big tournaments to those places. That would be my only change. I think the formats are great."

There is one other all-European tie with Scotland's Martin Laird against Italian Edoardo Molinari.

Ernie Els is set to return to action after missing last week's Northern Trust Open with a neck problem.

The South African, who was advised by doctors to take a week's rest, is scheduled to meet American Ryder Cup player Jeff Overton in the opening round at Dove Mountain.

World number two Kaymer, third-ranked Woods and triple Masters champion Mickelson are the top seeds in the other three groups.

Kaymer, who won his first major title at last year's PGA Championship, will launch his campaign against rising South Korea star Noh Seung-yul.

Northern Irish pair Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy face US opponents with McDowell playing Heath Slocum while McIlroy starts against Jonathan Byrd.

Justin Rose has a tricky opener against US Ryder Cup player Zach Johnson with Ireland's Padraig Harrington to play Australian Geoff Ogilvy.

World number 22 Tim Clark of South Africa withdrew on Tuesday because of an elbow injury and is replaced in the field by 66th-ranked American JB Holmes.

Official draw (seeded positions in brackets, all times GMT):

1425 (12) Ian Poulter (Eng) v (53) Stewart Cink (US)
1435 (21) Alvaro Quiros (Sp) v (44) YE Yang (S Kor)
1445 (11) Ernie Els (SA) v (54) Jeff Overton (US)
1455 (22) JB Holmes (US) v (43) Camilo Villegas (Col)
1505 (9) Luke Donald (Eng) v (56) Charley Hoffman (US)
1515 (24) Edoardo Molinari (Ita) v (41) Martin Laird (Sco)
1525 (10) Jim Furyk (US) v (55) Ryan Palmer (US)
1535 (23) Miguel Angel Jimenez (Sp) v (42) Yuta Ikeda (Jpn)
1545 (5) Graeme McDowell (NI) v (60) Heath Slocum (US)
1555 (28) Robert Allenby (Aus) v (37) Ross Fisher (Eng)
1605 (6) Paul Casey (Eng) v (59) Richard Green (Aus)
1615 (27) Kim Kyung-tae (S Kor) v (38) Jason Day (Aus)
1625 (8) Steve Stricker (US) v (57) Matteo Manassero (Ita)
1635 (25) Charl Schwartzel (SA) v (40) Ryo Ishikawa (Jpn)
1645 (7) Rory McIlroy (NI) v (58) Jonathan Byrd (US)
1655 (26) Adam Scott (Aus) v (39) Ben Crane (US)
1705 (13) Matt Kuchar (US) v (52) Anders Hansen (Den)
1715 (20) Louis Oosthuizen (SA) v (45) Bo Van Pelt (US)
1725 (14) Dustin Johnson (US) v (51) Mark Wilson (US)
1735 (19) Bubba Watson (US) v (46) Bill Haas (US)
1745 (16) Retief Goosen (SA) v (49) KJ Choi (S Kor)
1755 (17) Francesco Molinari (Ita) v (48) Ryan Moore (US)
1805 (15) Robert Karlsson (Swe) v (50) Hiroyuki Fujita (Jpn)
1815 (18) Hunter Mahan (US) v (47) Sean O'Hair (US)
1825 (4) Phil Mickelson (US) v (61) Brendan Jones (Aus)
1835 (29) Rickie Fowler (Aus) v (36) Peter Hanson (Swe)
1845 (3) Tiger Woods (US) v (62) Thomas Bjorn (Den)
1855 (30) Geoff Ogilvy (Aus) v (35) Padraig Harrington (Ire)
1905 (1) Lee Westwood (Eng) v (64) Henrik Stenson (Swe)
1915 (32) Nick Watney (US) v (33) Anthony Kim (US)
1925 (2) Martin Kaymer (Ger) v (63) Noh Seung-yul (S Kor)
1935 (31) Zach Johnson (US) v (34) Justin Rose (Eng)

Print Sponsor

see also
Poulter seals Match Play victory
21 Feb 10 |  Golf
Casey win sets up Poulter clash
21 Feb 10 |  Golf
Ogilvy cruises to win over Casey
01 Mar 09 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites