Tiger Woods Faces Elimination After WGC-Dell Match Play Loss to Brandt Snedeker

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2019

Tiger Woods watch his shot on the sixth hole during round-robin play at the Dell Technologies Match Play Championship golf tournament, Thursday, March 28, 2019, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

Tiger Woods may have just become the biggest Aaron Wise fan in the world.

Woods will need Wise to defeat Brandt Snedeker on Friday to avoid being eliminated from the WGC-Dell Match Play after losing 2 and 1 to Snedeker in their group round matchup.

The former world No. 1 never held a lead the entire match, as Snedeker threw together an excellent round while Woods struggled to keep up. Snedeker took his first lead with a birdie on the par-four third, and though Woods got him back on the very next hole, it wasn't long before the Nashville native took the lead again.

Tiger missed a five-foot birdie putt on No. 6 and Snedeker drained his from three feet to go one up, and then Woods bogeyed No. 7 to go down two. 


ICYMI: Here's @TigerWoods taking a kneeling, back-handed shot from inside of a bush and hitting the green like it's no big deal... 😱 https://t.co/iVZFUcq25d


Tiger grazing the flowers. https://t.co/0Lo1JELwtS

Snedeker never trailed again. He made the turn at one up after Woods' birdie on the par-four eighth and took another stroke at No. 13 when both golfers had their ugliest hole of the day. Tiger's first shot on the hole plunked into the water, and he had to scramble his way to double bogey. Meanwhile, Snedeker had his only bogey of the round in what Woods undoubtedly looks back on as a missed opportunity.

Tiger hit a beautiful approach to two feet out to get back within one up on No. 14 but could never keep forward momentum going. He narrowly missed a birdie putt on No. 15 that would have drawn them even, and then Snedeker put it away with a birdie on No. 16. 

If Woods is going to win his fourth Match Play championship, he's now going to need help. Snedeker will take their group with a win over Wise on Friday, having halved his first head-to-head with Patrick Cantlay. The winner of Woods-Cantlay would need Snedeker to lose or halve his match with Wise in order to have a chance to make the elimination round.

Woods has not won the Match Play event since 2008, and it's fair to say he might be better off sitting out the weekend. Players who advance to the knockout round could play as many as four more rounds over the Saturday-Sunday span, something that's probably not the greatest for a 43-year-old body that's been through several surgeries in recent years.

Tiger's lone focus the remainder of his career is competing in majors—getting three "practice" rounds in Austin and getting out is not a bad outcome.

That said, the competitor in him will be anything but satisfied with Thursday's result.