2005 World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play - A Tiger Wins, But It Wasn't Woods

Photos By David Vier, Text and Captions By Jeffrey A. Rendall

CARLSBAD, CA – The rains came early to La Costa, just as they had the week before in Los Angeles and for much of the winter of 2005 in normally sunny California, threatening to stall or condense the playing of the season’s first World Golf Championships, the Accenture Match Play.

There was much anticipation coming into the competition, as Tiger Woods had defeated his previous twelve opponents to win the Match Play two years in a row – and folks were hankering for a head-to-head showdown between Woods and world number one ranked Vijay Singh, or against the game’s hottest player, Phil Mickelson, winner of his previous two tournaments on the PGA Tour.

Neither scenario materialized amongst La Costa’s squishy-wet grounds, as all three of these players were out by the end of Friday’s matches.

What was left was a talented group of mid-ranked players and world #5 Retief Goosen of South Africa, the only number one seed to survive to play on the weekend.  Though the final days’ leader boards lacked the biggest names, it hardly was missing some incredible golf matches.

As you’d expect from the absence of Woods, Singh, Mickelson and Ernie Els (who didn’t play at La Costa), there wasn’t a lot of drama on the final two days – but that was due to the outstanding and dominating performance of winner David Toms.

Toms put on a clinic while beating Ian Poulter to reach the 36-hole final on Sunday, then finished off a somewhat helpless Chris DiMarco 6 and 5, at one point leading 9-up.  Both Toms and DiMarco are former Southeastern Conference college players, and they’re good friends to boot. 

Toms is a lifelong LSU Tiger – and his cool head under pressure carried him to victory at La Costa.  GolfTheMidAtlantic.com Photographer David Vier was there to capture the color of professional golf’s lone ‘official’ Match Play competition.  Here’s some of what he saw:

We captured a Tiger-smile on the first day of competition, when Woods defeated Nick Price. At that point, he'd won 13 consecutive matches at La Costa -- reason enough to crack a little grin.

David Toms was near perfect on the final two days of competition, knocking down flags on the back nine on Saturday to oust Ian Poulter, then pouring it on against Chris DiMarco to win early on Sunday. ABC was fortunate it had the third-place match to feature in its place.

Phil Mickelson nearly holed this bunker shot during his first round match against Loren Roberts, but couldn't get past the red-hot David Toms on Day Two.

Vijay Singh looks comfortable in this shot, but he's got to be a bit disappointed by his play in California -- missing the cut at Pebble Beach, then losing in the second round to Jay Haas at the Match Play.

John Daly enjoys a smoke during his first-round victory over Justin Leonard. Daly's big drives would seem to give him an advantage in a Match Play format, but the rough at La Costa helped minimize the distance gained with severe penalties for missing the fairway.

Chris DiMarco celebrates a holed putt, with first-round victim Tim 'Lumpy' Herron looking on in the background. DiMarco was gritty in victory until meeting up with Toms on Sunday -- but still collected the largest check of his career for finishing second ($750,000).

51-year old Jay Haas enjoys a moment of off-air levity with ABC TV's Andy North. The ageless Haas leveled Jonathan Kaye and Vijay Singh in this year's matches before falling to eventual runner-up Chris DiMarco.

Tiger eyes the results of knock-down shot at La Costa. The sopping wet conditions demanded that players try and take the spin off the ball when playing to the greens.

Retief Goosen was the only number one seed to make the final four -- but blew a big lead to fall to Chris DiMarco. He rebounded to win the third-place match, however, and collect $560,000 for the trouble. Not bad.

Justin Leonard looking sharp in his new Nike garb. Leonard's already picked up a victory in 2005, but lost to John Daly in the first round at La Costa.

Englishman Ian Poulter always draws attention with his colorful apparel -- but his proficient golf of late isn't hurting his exposure time, either.

Phil Mickelson has been working overtime on his game in 2005 -- here, surveying a putting drill with caddy Jim 'Bones' MacKay.


World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship

La Costa Resort and Spa, Carlsbad, California 

Purse:  $7.5 million

Winner’s share:  $1.3 million

2005 Winner:  David Toms

36 Hole Score – Toms wins, 6 and 5

Runner-up:  Chris DiMarco

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