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Ewen Murray blogs on the Accenture Match Play drama in Arizona

Ewen Murray - Ewen Murray Posted 26th February 2014 view comments

That was some show the players put on at the Accenture Match Play in Tucson last week.

The final between Victor Dubuisson and the new champion, Australian Jason Day, will go down as a classic and those who saw it will remember it for many years.

Much was said about the Frenchman's miraculous escape from the desert during the sudden death play off. They were hit and hope shots simply because the strike on the ball could not be guaranteed.

Day (L) and Dubuisson served up a classic, says Ewen

Day (L) and Dubuisson served up a classic, says Ewen

The first bounce had to be in the primary rough both times and yet the first effort ended four feet from the cup, the second settled ten feet away.

Great shots? They were spectacular shots and will be mentioned many times in the years ahead and, of course, there was an element of good fortune about them.

Unique

The great shots were the successful putts that followed. They showed the steely nerve of the 23-year-old and his desire to survive in the toughest of situations.

Dubuisson contributed hugely to a wonderful final and secured his place in Paul McGinley's side to take on the Americans in the Ryder Cup.

Ewen Murray
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Victor contributed hugely to a wonderful final and despite defeat in the end, secured his place in Paul McGinley's side to take on the Americans in the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in the autumn.

From what we saw in the Arizona desert, the likeable Irishman will be thrilled to have Dubuisson there.

He is a different character from the norm. During the week, he seemed to be in his own bubble, calculating his own yardages and making his own decisions.

On occasions, he would confer with his caddie, but in general, it was all his own work. His short game was a delight to watch. Inventive, assured and all done with confidence as well as superb execution.

The weeks ahead are important for him as there will now be expectation. From what we saw at Dove Mountain, I think he will deliver.

Potential

The champion, Day, has been knocking on the door for a while and one finally opened wide enough for him to walk through. Jason has come close at Augusta and was in contention all the way during last years US Open.

He is an impressive golfer with no weaknesses in his technique, he has a big heart and now he has made this breakthrough, the next win will come sooner rather than later.

My wish would be that he speeds up his pre-shot routine as I believe that has held him back. He takes an inordinate amount of time to settle over the shot and there is a lot of chat with the caddie.

Once he gets over the ball he wastes little time, but too much time assessing what he has in front of him is something he would do well to cut down.

His next step is a Major win and I firmly believe that will happen, maybe he will have one before the end of the summer.

I was delighted to see Rickie Fowler return to the golfer we all know he is. Rickie decided to change his swing at the end if last year and employed the wise brain and eagle eyes of Sky Sports' Butch Harmon.

Changes are always difficult. Easy on the range, but hard to take out onto the course. Rickie missed his first three cuts this year, but his pure ball striking over the five days at the Accenture will have confirmed he is on the right track.

I'm also happy for Butch. He loves teaching, he is the best in the business and being alongside the younger players keeps him youthful. He has been a magnificent working colleague and I hope to have his company for a few years yet.

Embrace

The World Golf Championships were created to have the best players playing against each other more often and they have added much to the world golfing schedule.

The only disappointment was that three of the top four in the world rankings were missing. Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson decided against travelling to America's south west.

I'm not sure what the sponsors thought of that, but I suspect they would have taken a dim view, especially as seven of the top ten are entered for the Honda Classic this week in Florida. Accenture has supported the match play from the beginning and last week the first prize was over one and a half million dollars.

I believe the top 64 players have a duty to embrace this event and, unless through injury or special circumstances, they should be there. If they don't, then I think world ranking points should be deducted from their total. Maybe a little harsh, maybe not.

If its any consolation, these three players were hardly missed. The class that were there provided some fabulous golf and this year's tournament will go down as one of the best in its history.

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