Match-Play Event at PGA West Means a Short Week for Some

TIMES STAFF WRITER

What is the bottom line in match-play golf?

"You lose, you're gone," said Paul Azinger, who is going to try to stay around for a while in the $2.1-million Diners Club Matches that begin today on the Nicklaus Course at PGA West.

Azinger will team with Phil Mickelson in the four-ball match-play format against Payne Stewart and Lee Janzen. Azinger didn't last long last year, when he and Lanny Wadkins lost in the first round.

"I went all the way out to Palm Springs [from Florida], played one match and then I had to go all the way back home," Azinger said. "You don't want to do that.

"That's what makes match play so interesting. It's not necessarily the format as it is the finality."

Defending champions Jeff Maggert and Jim McGovern are top seeded among the 16 teams from the PGA Tour. Eight Senior PGA Tour teams and eight teams from the LPGA begin match play Friday.

Other opening PGA Tour matches are Maggert-McGovern against Kirk Triplett-Steve Stricker, Tom Lehman-Duffy Waldorf against Jay Haas-Curtis Strange, Billy Mayfair-Mark Calcavecchia against Bob Tway-Scott Verplank, David Duval-Woody Austin against Justin Leonard-Jeff Sluman, Tom Kite-Billy Andrade against Fred Funk-Blaine McCallister, Peter Jacobsen-Brian Henninger against Kenny Perry-John Huston and Jim Gallagher Jr.-Steve Lowery against Scott Simpson-Larry Mize.

Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus play Raymond Floyd and Dave Eichelberger in a first-round senior tour match. Kelly Robbins and Tammie Green are top seeded in the LPGA bracket.

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