Another day, another top-ranked golfer has lost in the Accenture Match Play Championships outside Tucson. Phil Mickelson, the former ASU Sun Devil and current No. 1 golfer in the world, was defeated handily by Rickie Fowler, a 22-year-old who played college golf at Oklahoma State.
Fowler defeated Mickelson by a score of 6 to 5, which is by all accounts a very large margin. Essentially, it means that after 13 holes were played, Fowler was up by six -- which meant that Mickelson couldn't catch up, and the match was over.
Lee Westwood, who was the No. 1 seed in his bracket, also lost today, falling by a hole to Nick Watney.
Rickie Fowler really impressed Mickelson, who said, "[Fowler] doesn't really have a weakness. He really is a complete player, and he put it together today."
Comparing a player's performance in match play to regular golf tournaments is like comparing apples to oranges. The pressures are completely different, and a bad run of holes can make victory all but impossible. In the span of four days, minor mistakes can be forgiven. With each hole worth so much in match play, the tiniest issue can be exploited by the competition.