Sports 101

Tiger Woods, David Duval, Greg Norman, Jeff Maggert, and Nick Price survived the first round. But it was a short week for Mark O'Meara, Davis Love, and Ernie Els. On Wednesday, golf's top 64 players began competing in the Andersen Consulting Match Play Championship at La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, Calif. Most of the players have already been eliminated, and competition continues through Sunday. All matches are scheduled for 18 holes, except for Sunday's match, which will be 36 holes. It's little like college basketball's March Madness, complete with brackets and rankings.

Q: Why is there so much buzz and controversy surrounding the Andersen Consulting championship?

A: First, marquee players are competing from around the globe, and there are many rivalries fans are excited about (including No. 1 Tiger Woods, who beat the struggling No. 64 Nick Faldo on Wednesday). Second, it's the first time in 40 years that this PGA championship is changing formats, from stroke play to match play (see below). Third, in match-play competition, the first day can be your last, if you don't play aggressively.

Q: How does stroke play differ from match play and how is a winner determined?

A: Instead of counting strokes, scoring is determined by winning a hole. For example, if Player X gets a 2 on the first hole, and Player Y gets a 3, Player X is one up after one hole. The match ends when one player is ahead by more holes than there are holes left to play.

Q: How much prize money is involved in the Andersen championship?

A: $5 million, with the biggest chunk ($1 million) going to the winner.

Q: Why did the PGA tour abandon match play in 1958?

A: Because it became difficult to televise. There was no guarantee that the best players would reach the finals and no one could predict how long the matches would last. The only other significant match-play event has been the Ryder Cup, held every two years.

*Please send your comments to parneyl@csps.com

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