Pairing up to fill golf's ark

Updated: February 23, 2005, 1:20 PM ET
By Jason Sobel | ESPN.com

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Welcome to the Match Puddle Championship at Lake La Costa!

Seriously folks, things are going just swimmingly so far.

After all, Southern California has spent more time underwater than Michael Phelps lately.

La Costa Country Club
Break out the ark: La Costa looks like a lake this week.

It's so wet out here that golfers need an ark just to navigate the fairways and greens. So is it just coincidence that the Gods of Golf have paired up similar players, two by two, throughout the brackets?

Take Tiger Woods and Nick Price, for example. On the surface, it would seem that Woods, 29 years old and ranked No. 2 in the world, would have nothing in common with Price, 48 years old and ranked 63rd in the field.

Ah, but one check of some reporters' notebooks reveals the two men are among the most quoted in the history of the game; Price for his oft-eloquent take on golf's issues and unending charm toward the media, and Tiger because, well, he's Tiger.

Speaking of arks, no truth to the rumor that Woods was sailing his 155-foot yacht, Privacy, down the 18th fairway the other day.

Or take Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell, the two most prominent golfers from Northern Ireland, who just happen to be squaring off in the first round. For them, this climate must seem like a day at the beach. It's not really raining until it's raining sideways, or so they say.

Perhaps the toughest thing Clarke will try to achieve all week is lighting a stogie in a downpour.

And then there's the matchup of Tim Clark and Craig Parry, both of whom are in danger of being in over their heads this week. No, not figuratively -- they can handle the world-class competition -- but literally; at 5-foot-7 each, they'll be lucky if their games hold water.

If not, they could give new meaning to "drowning their sorrows."

How about Stephen Ames and Mark Hensby? These two guys wouldn't have been the most famous people at your member-guest before last season, but each broke through for his first career win on tour.

Need more? Mike Weir is from Canada and his opponent, Kirk Triplett, won the 1988 Alberta Open in -- where else? -- Canada.

Jim Furyk's given name is James; Ian Poulter's middle name is James.

Stewart Cink and Fred Funk both enjoy skiing.

And Luke Donald and Zach Johnson each weighs exactly 160 pounds.

Eerie, isn't it?

In fact, the only natural pairing that failed to materialize in the brackets was that of Retief Goosen and Angel "The Duck" Cabrera.

After all, with all the water at La Costa right now, can you really think of a better matchup than a Goose and a Duck?


Jason Sobel is ESPN.com's golf editor. He can be reached at Jason.Sobel@espn3.com

Jason Sobel | email

Golf Editor, ESPN.com
Jason Sobel, who joined ESPN in 1997, earned four Sports Emmy awards as a member of ESPN's Studio Production department. He became ESPN.com's golf editor in July 2004.

ALSO SEE