Junior Golf: Match Play

In today’s Friday Flop Shop we will introduce your son to match play. There are basically 2 formats for competition in a golf tournament, medal or stroke play and match play. Stroke or medal play means that whoever has the fewest strokes at the end of the tournament is the winner. In match play your son is playing a “match” against another player.image

As the Dell World Golf Championship Match Play continues this weekend at Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas, here are some points to keep in mind as you watch. In match play, competitors are playing 1 on 1, man-to-man or mano-a-mano as we say down here. The goal is to win or draw/tie each hole. A hole is won by the player having the lower score on an individual hole. If both player’s scores are the same, the hole is a draw, tie or halved. The match is won when a player has won more holes than there are holes left to play. In other words in an 18-hole match, the fastest your son could win would be 10 and 8. This means he won every hole and once he got to a total of 10 holes won, he would be the victor. (photo offcoursegolf.com)

It is also possible to win by a score of “x”-up. For example let’s say your son is 1-up after 17 holes and he wins #18, then victory is described as 2-up. You will also hear the term “door-me”. A player is door-me when he is behind by the same number of holes that are left to play, say 3-down with 3 holes left to play. The best a door-me player can hope for is to salvage a tie by winning every remaining hole, a tough feat in any tournament.

Sir Nick Faldo has given great insights into the proper player mentality for match play. Sir Nick,
“In match play you go for everything. It is the most in-the-moment type of golf as you are not thinking about the double-bogey you made 2 holes ago or what you’re going to hit on #17, you just want to win this shot. And then you want to win the next shot.” In match play you want to win right now, win this hole. Then you can attack the next hole. Remember, in match play your son can make up for 1 poor hole by winning the next hole. It is quick recovery and he’s right back in the game. The total number of strokes in match play doesn’t matter. All that does matter is that on each hole, your son has fewer strokes than his opponent. So really your son could shoot a relatively high score and still win his match. (photo austin.com)image

So get ready because TV coverage the Dell WGC Match play starts at 9:00am central time and and then switches over to NBC at 1:00pm central. These times are pretty much the same tomorrow, so get the TiVo going and be sure to record for 2 hours past the scheduled end of coverage on NBC to include any playoffs. This is the 1st time in a number of years that the Top 3 in World Golf rankings have advanced to the Final 16, yes that means Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy are still competing.

1 of the things about match play is that the more you win, the more you walk. So a player winning in the Round of 16 this morning, will get a brief break and tee off in the ¼-Finals this afternoon, walking 36 holes today. The winner will tee off in the Semi-Finals tomorrow morning and the 2 Semi-Final winners will tee off in the Finals after lunch Sunday. The 2 Finalists will have walked 126 holes of golf in 5 days and obviously had the mental and physical strength and endurance to play great golf the whole time. Love it!

Seriously record this tournament. Your son will play in these match play events and he will enjoy it. The insights into how to properly perform in match play from all the commentators and announcers is most interesting and invaluable. This is input you can’t get anywhere else!

See you on #1 tee, looking to win the 1st hole… Sam

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