February 23, 2012- Tiger Woods was able to survive. Luke Donald, the world’s number one ranked player and defending champion, did not. The first day of the Match Play Championship saw a number of higher seeded players crash out. Donald seeded number one in the tournament lost to the 64th seed Ernie Els.
Els was only in the tournament because Phil Mickelson decided to take a family vacation this week and skip the tournament. He beat Donald 5 and 4. Donald became the third No. 1 seed to lose in the first round in the history of the event.
Donald said, “It really did not matter who played against me today. I did not play very well.” He concluded by saying, “I struggled and gave too many holes away with too many mistakes.”
Woods also was close to losing as he lost two consecutive holes on the back nine to fall down by one. However, he was able to adjust, took the 15th and 16th holes to regain the lead, and went on to win.
Other notable players that were defeated by lower seeds included Ian Poulter and Bill Haas. The most compelling match of the first round was between veteran Jim Furyk and power hitting Dustin Johnson, as the two played two extra holes to decide the winner. The match went 20 holes before Furyk three-putted to lose.