Michael Blair on how mediocrity characterised the Matchplay at Wentworth...
Sam Torrance, commentating on the Paul McGinley v Angel Cabrera World Matchplay semi-final at Wentworth on Saturday, described what he was watching as "a great match."
Some good golf there had been, notably from McGinley; some very poor golf there had also been, mostly from Cabrera. Great match? Rubbish, Sam.
McGinley was four up at the time and there were just six holes to play. How could that possibly be a great match? Cabrera went on to win the 14th - with a par.
With four holes now to play, he needed a telling drive down the 15th and his response was to smash his tee shot out of bounds. McGinley could have won the hole and the match with a bogey.
Great match? Was it heck. Torrance, of course, is a jovial soul and like so many people with an affection for this old championship, he was gamely determined to talk it up. He simply did not have much evidence.
Over the first three days there was a numbing shortage of great matches, matches of the sort that have made the Matchplay what it is. Or was.
McGinley's victory was by 4&3 and it followed Michael Campbell's annihilation, by 7&6, of that sometimes half- soaked South African, Retief Goosen.
Two semi-finals: one never went beyond the 12th in the second round and the other clanged to a halt on the 15th.
And this wasn't in any way exceptional by the standards of this year's event. So one-sided were so many of the matches that I heard it suggested that the reason for Goosen's hammering from Campbell in the semis was that he was, comparatively, out of practice.
Of the 72 holes he should have played in the first two rounds, he'd only been required to address 54 of them.
Too much of the golf we witnessed on the first three rounds was unbecoming of professional golfers, in any circumstances.
When they were playing for as much money as they were - more than £250,000 - it was very hard to accept. To say it as it really was, the World Matchplay Championship this year - and with due respect to the admirable Paul McGinley - was played out by a pretty mediocre field overall. And much of the golf reflected just that.