Shocking Underdog Runs And Upsets In History Of WGC-Match Plays

The PGA Tour is going to have an extended hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which means that this week we are all left without one of the most exciting scheduled events. There will be no dramatic comebacks or shocking and jaw-dropping upsets this week at one of the most unpredictable tournaments contested yearly, the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship.

Because of that people are searching for memorable and improbable moments, just to relive the memories in the weeks where we are left without the match plays. From dramatic runs to unexpected results, below you have some of the most memorable moments you might have forgotten about, in the 20-year history event.

1999 – Making it big, Steve Pate

Pulling off the upset, showed just how unpredictable these single-elimination formats can actually be. Steve Pate was able to beat Fred Couples, Eduardo Romero and Brandt Jobe, and then he was qualified for the semifinals. After he lost to Jeff Maggert, pate ended up fourth, but due to this run through the bracket, he was chosen by Ben Crenshaw as captain’s pick.

2000 – Darren Clarke took down Tiger

In February of 2000, Woods was already playing some of the best in his golf career and he was a couple of months removed from the starting the Tiger Slam. Clarke’s semifinal run was destined to end, as he was left against 3 No. 1 seeds, Davis Love III, Woods, and David Duval.

Setting the stage to a memorable finale, Ulsterman dispatched Duval in the semi-finals. Not only was Clarke able to beat Woods in the 36-hole match, but he also earned his first Tour title as well, and he did that in a very resounding fashion. That match had ended 4 and 3, after 12 birdies were poured across 33 holes by Clarke and missed just one of the greens over his final seventeen holes.

2001 – Steve Striker 

Making a trek to OZ, where he was able to start as the 14 seed against Padraig Harrington No. 3 seed. Steve Stricker was able to beat Harrington, and then Scott Verplank, as well as Justin Leonard. He then entered the quarterfinals where he had another upstart, but he was able to beat his opponent yet again, after which the only one left in his way was Pierre Fulke. But that resulted in Steve Stricker taking the 36-hole final with a 2 and 1 a victory.

2002 – Peter O’Malley stuns Woods 

Before O’Hern and Woods had a match, there was yet another Aussie who showed that it was very much possible to beat Woods. A 36-year-old journeyman by the name of O’Malley, who had three European Tour, wins with not that much success in the USA. He was one of the lowest-ranked players in the field, and he was able to get into the tournament only when one of the players withdrew because of an injury.

The reigning Masters champ was Woods, but he has struggled on the greens at La Costa against O’Malley, and not a single birdie was recorded from him until the 16th hole. O’Malley already closed out the match, two and one, so by then, it was too late. This was the first time that the lowest-ranked player was able to win the match. After that, O’Malley played and lost in the second round, and then never played in that event again.

2002- Winning as a 16 seed, Kevin Sutherland

One of the most surprising Match Play winners of all time is definitely Kevin Sutherland. He was barely able to qualify and he ranked 62nd, among 64 others. So, winning the match in 2002, was one of the biggest surprises by a mile!

2005, 2007 – Nick O’Hern tops Tiger 

As we all know, Tiger Woods is one of the greatest players of his generations, but he did have an Achilles’ heel when considering this event. In 2005, the tournament was held at La Costa, and O’Hern was barely able to survive his No. 8 vs No. 9 opener against Howell III who then earned the date with the two-time defending champion. After two years, the two of them met again, as Woods again could not keep up the pace with O’Hern, and was outlasted by him on the 20th hole.

2012 – Hunter Mahan VS Rory McIlroy

Even though Mcllroy was the reigning USA Open Champ, in the match of 2012, he was not the one who carried the victory. Instead, Mahan was the one who won three straight holes, and he was able to win the match, 2 and 1.

2013 – Shane Lowry and Rory Mcllroy

The relationship between the two is stretched way back to their junior days, and the two of them have met again in 2013. One could say that that was a rather odd year, since not only did Dove Mountain have an unexpected blanket of snow, the two of them lost in the opening round.

2014 – Dubuisson VS nature

When you prepare for a match, you have to be ready for everything, but Dubuisson was not expecting what came in the match of 2014. One of the first extra holes that were approaching ended up in a cactus, but even so, he was able to hack it out on the par. This heroic was repeated from the junk on his next hole, and he eventually won, which is why this became a memorable finale.

2019 – Bjerregaard upsets Woods

The format of the tournament changed in 2015, with a single-elimination bracket and a group of play along. Bjerregaard upsets Tiger was fortunate to escape the group portion. Following an upset over Henrik Stenson, Bjerregaard upsets Tiger earned a place in the quarterfinals match against Woods. Bjerregaard upsets Tiger eventually lost to Matt Kuchar in the semifinals and overall finished fourth. He has not done much ever since, while Woods, as many of us have heard, has gone to win the Masters soon after.