2012 Match Play: Even the losers benefit

Some players have traveled thousands of miles to the WGC-Match Play with no guarantee their week will last past Wednesday’s first round. The trip will still be worthwhile in the event of an early exit, though.

First-round losers won’t leave Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Marana, Ariz., empty-handed. They’ll earn $45,000 and 2.05 world-ranking points. To put that in comparison, players earned 2.01 points for finishing 42nd in the Northern Trust Open. They earned 1.94 points for finishing 25th at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Some criticize the awarding of world-ranking points to first-round losers, saying it rewards failure.

First place this week is worth $1,400,000 and 76 world-ranking points. The big bounty for first place means we could have a new No. 1 for the first time since Luke Donald took the top spot on May 30.

Rory McIlroy could become world No. 1 for the first time in his career if he wins and Donald fails to reach the third round. Lee Westwood could regain the top spot if he wins and Donald fails to reach the quarterfinals. Westwood was last ranked No. 1 on May 29. He lost the top spot to Donald when Donald beat him in a playoff at last year’s BMW PGA Championship.

Jeff Overton may best illustrate the benefits of being among the game’s elite. He lost in the first round of last year’s WGC-Match Play and finished last in the WGC-Cadillac Championship. His two-week take? $84,750.

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