Yesterday's second round at Accenture Match Play was another day of surprise upsets and unlikely outcomes.
That's what I love about the format. It gives you a different perspective on the players you think you know really well. For example, Watching Tim Clark or Sergio Garcia play in a normal tournament is one thing, but watching them go head to head ... like they will today ... is a different experience altogether.
Match Play distills the game of golf down to it's most exciting elements. Yesterday Tim Clark defeated Marting Kaymer one of the top Europeans, and a recent winner of the Abu Dhabi Championship. Sergio Garcia beat Denmark's Anders Hansen, so today it'll be Clark vs Garcia, and though they've got way different styles, they seem pretty evenly matched. It's anyone's guess as to how it'll turn out.
Ogilvy, McIlroy, Westwood, Furyk ... all were surprisingly put out of the running yesterday, and their absence sets the stage for some interesting matches.
Ryo Ishikawa vs Thaichong Jaidee will be one to watch. Think about it, Mr. Jaidee was already jumping out of airplanes as a paratrooper in the Thai Army when his opponent was born! However, the two-decade-plus age difference creates advantages for each golfer; 18 year old Ryo's youth may allow him to play riskier, but at 40, Thaichong has a steely determination that he's built upon for ages. Most are predicting a Ryo win but I wouldn't count Jaidee out just yet.
Then there's Jeev Milkha Singh, winner of yesterday's SOD award. Mr. Singh won for his stylish pink polo featuring subtle horizontal pinstripes and a solid pink collar... worn buttoned up to the very top. It looked great, and pink is
But beyond his winning shirt, the story of Jeev Milkha Singh is an awesome one that starts with his winning genes. His Dad Milkha Singh was an Olympic athlete, a sprinter who once held the 400 m world record, and is considered one of India's best athletes of all time. His Mom was captain of the Indian Women's Volleyball team.
Jeev Singh's historical accomplishments as an Indian golfer are many: first Indian golfer to become a member of the European Tour... first Indian to make the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings... first Indian golfer to participate in the Masters Tournament. He's also achieved the highest ranking for an Indian golfer in any major event, finishing at T9 in the 2008 PGA Championship in Oakland Hills.
He's considered the best Indian golfer ever and has contributed much to the growth of the sport in his country. Jeev Milkha Singh had his first child... a little boy... just a few weeks ago.
At this year's Accenture Match Play, the understated Indian golfer has played with aplomb for the first two rounds. After his surprising defeat of Padraig Harrington in the first round and Matt Kuchar yesterday, today he'll face an extremely tough opponent in Ian Poulter. If both play they way they've been known to play... and both wear something awesome... it'll be a great match to watch.