Blog
25
February
Victor Dubuisson steals Jason's Day
By: Ross Starkey

When Jason Day finally dipped his head across the line, in a playoff that will be talked about all the way to the Ryder Cup in September, it was with the steely nerve that he seems to have developed that appears at odds with the lonely, single Byron Nelson Tour title getting dusty in his trophy cabinet.

Day has been knocking on the door since that win three years ago and this victory can go one of two ways. It can either cement his own belief or breed further questions on his ability to close out tournaments victories. Already in his short career he has posted three runners-up finishes in majors and, including this win, has 32 top ten finishes in just 139 PGA Tour starts.

But his win was largely over shadowed by Victor Dubuisson, whose previous reluctance to enter the interview zone has demonstrated a certain well known aloofness. Since his Turkish Airlines Open win last year and his rise into the top 40 in the world rankings, there are many (Paul McGinly and co.) that will be glad to see him flirting with the media, as his future position as Ryder Cupper later this year is almost guaranteed.

More endearing than his French accent is his honesty, which can sometimes be mistaken for being blunt, frank and often prickly. At least this week there was a certain hesitancy to say the right thing, avoiding anything controversial. But this was well-countered with  his shy, almost naïve concession of nervousness, excitement and glee to be keeping with the company of golfers at gathered at Dove Mountain.

Perhaps now is a good starting point for Dubuisson, he can be forgiven any previous club throwing antics (see BMW German Open), or his reluctance to court the French golfing authorities, or indeed its own media (note his current residence in Andorra). But at 23, and with this performance, he can, at least for now, present a fresh media image. Which is helped all the more by his cutting a more than dashing figure, with a D'Artanganesqe beard and a bright wardrobe.

Meanwhile Day too was exalting his opponent's miracle escape shots from the desert cactus bushes and scrub on the 19th and 20th holes of the final. The WGC Match Play is undoubtedly a tough one to win and to cue from a famous song, 'when the going gets tough...' Day is usually contending.

While it was Dubuisson who dispatched three major winners - Bubba Watson, Graeme McDowell and Ernie Els - and couldn't quite oust major-winner in-waiting Jason Day, it was the latter who must surely have enhanced his credentials for the first Major of the season just two months away. If Day maintains this form through to Augusta, he may well have another opportunity to lay to rest further demons when losing a winning advantage with three holes to play last year.