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Home THROUGH CHAOS COMES ORDER?

In match play anything can happen and that fact isn’t lost on those assembled outside Tucson, AZ this week. Heading into golf’s version of the NCAA’s March Madness, players were acutely aware their stay could be a short one in the Old Pueblo. “I'm hitting the ball well the last couple of weeks,” said last week’s winner, Bubba Watson, who twirled around Riviera CC without a bogey on the weekend. “This event is really tough because you can go out and shoot 5-under and lose or you can go out and shoot 3-over and win. So you never know what's going to happen that day. So you've got to take one day at a time and hopefully move on.” Watson survived his first day (2&1 over Mikko Ilonen) but today is always a new one!

“The year that I got to the final here, I didn't play very well the first three days, and then my game started to come around and I played well in the quarters and the semis and the final, as well,” reflected Rory McIlroy before his dust up with Boo Weekley, which he survived 3&2. Last year his pal and countryman, Shane Lowry sent McIlroy packing after beating him 1-up.

In terms of lower seeds “upsetting” higher seeds this year, it only happened nine times in the first round. It represents the event’s lowest total ever. Perhaps, Tiger, Phil and Adam not participating adds to this in some way, shape or form. By contrast, last year there were 15 upsets, which equaled the total in 2013. Case in point, there has been double digits recorded in terms of upsets since 1999 in the event. This year, Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker, both of whom had been on hiatus, were eliminated in the first round.

The unexpected adds an element to the event. However, in the end an audience’s interest lies with the faces that remain in the field, which is halved, day after day. As Henrik Stenson moves on, consider this: The No. 1 overall seed hasn't advanced past Round 2 since 2008.