Alas, even the mighty Phil Mickelson fell. He made it deeper than he has in over a decade but, in the end, even he couldn't make the Final Four at the WGC-Dell Match Play. None of my picks made it to the Sunday matches, so I no longer have a dog in the fight.
However, we are left with a fascinating foursome to contend for the Walter Hagen Cup today.
In one corner we have a semifinal battle between Bill Haas and Jon Rahm. Haas wasn't firing on all eight cylinders when the week started, but he's found his groove now. And Rahm hasn't been out of his groove all week, not even for a moment.
In the other corner we have Dustin Johnson and Hideto Tanihara. Johnson wasn't even tied for a hole this week until well into the fifth match Saturday afternoon... and even then, he didn't fall behind. And Tanihara -- well, he's not so much an underdog as just an unknown quantity. Dustin remarked that he didn't even know who he was, but Hideto's play this week has clearly announced his identity to everyone.
And you didn't need to understand Japanese to hear him, loud and clear!
On paper, you have to expect that Johnson will face Rahm for the Cup. And if that happens, I honestly don't know who will win. Dustin has been on a roll for weeks now, but Jon has been just as solid, despite not posting a large number of wins. If I had to give one an edge, I'd give it to Rahm simply because his putting seems slightly more consistent than Dustin's.
But don't quote me on that. This is match play, after all.
And if we write off the other two players, we do so at our own risk. Haas has proven in the past to have more mettle than his easygoing manner might indicate. And Tanihara has 14 wins on the Japan Golf Tour, 3 of them coming just last year. He's not going anywhere.
This could be one of the best Match Plays we've seen in many years. I'm really looking forward to it today!
Even if all my picks went bye-bye too early.