If the recent exciting play in college basketball wasn’t an indication that March has arrived early this year, the first round of the Match Play Championship sure was. Folks who say golf is boring are going to have to eat their words after watching the video above. The Nos. 1 and 2 players in the world–Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods–were both bounced in the first round on golf’s equivalent of buzzer-beaters. Upsets and buzzer-beaters…this has to be March Mania, right?
McIlroy definitely wasn’t expected to lose in the first round, but neither was Duke against Lehigh in last year’s NCAA Tournament. McIlroy’s tournament came to an end before it really got started when Irishman Shane Lowry sank a four-foot par putt on the 18th hole. Bet you didn’t pick that one on your bracket! Ok, so you probably didn’t have a bracket for this golf tournament, but it’s safe to say no one picked this upset.
Woods’ early defeat wasn’t quite as dramatic. Charles Howell III, who was out for revenge from his last Match Play defeat to Tiger in 1996, hit a beautiful 25-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole to put his “rival” down two strokes and Woods never recovered.
It was the equivalent of a No. 1 and 2 seed getting upset by a No. 15 and 16 seed in the college basketball tournament. Could this be a sign of things to come? Could we see that for the first time this year? With the way college basketball is going right now and the fact that an early case of March Mania is spilling over into other sports, don’t be surprised if it does.