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Tour Confidential: The Day-Dubuisson Duel, Sergio's Sportsmanship and Ike's Tree

Victor Dubuisson, Jason Day
Associated Press
Jason Day may have taken the title, but it was Victor Dubuisson's shotmaking in the extra holes that provided the excitement.

Every Sunday night, conducts an e-mail roundtable with writers from Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

1. Jason Day and Victor Dubuisson put on a show for the ages in their Accenture Match Play Championship final, won by Day in 23 holes. Where does Dubuisson-Day rank in the annals of great PGA Tour duels?

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: In its freshness, this Match Play was way, way up there. South of the great duels that have decided majors -- Woods-May in the 2000 PGA Championship, for instance -- it is right near the top. It was so unexpected, the whole thing.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@GaryVanSickle): It ranks right up there with Jeff Maggert's overtime duel with Andrew Magee in the Match Play final. I think we all remember that one.

Joe Passov, senior editor, courses and travel, Golf Magazine (@joepassov): This didn't have David vs. Goliath impact, Bob May/Rocco Mediate vs. Tiger or Jack Fleck vs. Ben Hogan, nor did it have Ali-Frazier heavyweight titan reverberations, such as the Nicklaus-Watson "Duel in the Sun" at Turnberry. Still, for two guys that held little rooting interest, I was riveted until the end -- and that says a lot after more than seven hours of watching golf.

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated (@MarkGodich): It was captivating, but I'm not ready to put it at the top of the medal stand. There wouldn't have even been a playoff if Day hadn't played the 18th so poorly. Dubuisson's escapes were Seve-esque, but he hit horrendous shots from the fairway to put himself in those positions. And it wasn't like the two were matching each other birdie for birdie. Most amazing to me was that in a five-day event that turned into a birdie shootout, the two combined for exactly one bird over the last six holes and even halved a hole in the playoff with bogeys.

Jeff Ritter, senior editor, Sports Illustrated Golf Group (@Jeff_Ritter): It might rank as the best non-major, non-Tiger, non-Phil duel that I've ever watched live on TV. Dubuisson's pair of cactus escapes were just preposterous. Even my dad's patented foot-wedge wouldn't have worked from those spots. And Day's reaction to Vic's second Seve impression was priceless. It was just a great show. We tend to forget guys who finish second, especially in non-majors, but this is one runner-up finish that will be remembered for a long time.

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine (@CameronMorfit): I can't say much more than it was one of the better ones in this event. Two guys who really didn't want to lose and played like it. Good for them. Also, what a great send-off for this event as we know it, since it seems likely the title sponsor, venue and maybe even the format will change next year.

Eamon Lynch, managing editor, (@eamonlynch): It was hugely entertaining but this isn't a duel that will be talked about for decades. Showdowns that live in memory tend to be in majors and feature at least one major star. It's no reflection on Dubuisson, but I suspect the fleeting attention span of the viewing public means golf fans will struggle to remember his name in short order, at least until he reappears in a big way.

Josh Sens, contributing writer, Golf Magazine (@JoshSens): Somewhere far below the Watson-Nicklaus Duel in the Sun in '77 at Turnberry and somewhere just above my extra holes victory last week over my neighbor Joe in Tiger Woods EA Sports. You start throwing the word "annals" around and you sound pretty serious. But come on. Both guys are fine players, but they're not the sort who stop the golf world from spinning on its axis. And neither is this event.

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@AlanShipnuck): It's certainly the best duel in the history of the Match Play, which is enough. What a show! At the start of the week the story was that this tourney is on life support. Now we are all free to celebrate the glory of this delightful format.

2. Day is a world top-10 player with a stellar record in majors, yet gets little respect as a pre-tournament favorite. Is this fair since he only had one PGA Tour win before he won the Match Play on Sunday, or unfair, given his ability to raise his game on big occasions?

VAN SICKLE: Day has shown glimpses of greatness and has three runner-up finishes in majors and a third. He's been close. We need to see a few more wins, though, and some consistency. He's got a lot of potential, and he's still young. He seems driven to win, not just pile up huge stacks of money.

SHIPNUCK: Talent is an illusion or a lie. Wins are what matter, and Day may be on the verge of piling up a bunch, at which point he will be rightfully celebrated.

SENS: I had my money on Day in all four of last year's majors. He didn't win, and I lost money, but it's only a matter of time before that changes, for him at least. He's been overlooked in the past, but those days are over, I suspect.

GODICH: I like Day a lot, but he'll be the first to tell you that it's all about winning. I do think this victory could be a springboard. He showed some real resolve, especially after making a mess of the 18th hole.

LYNCH: Truly raising your game on big occasions means winning and Day hasn't done much of that, so it's unsurprising that he doesn't get a lot of attention. Still, you get the feeling that he could go on a run and claim a bunch of titles. He's been second in three majors and he's only 26. Day is a big stage player, and we'll talk about him plenty in the years to come.

BAMBERGER: It may not be fair, but it really doesn't matter, does it? I mean, I participate in these pre-tournament pickfests, never get a winner correct, never think to mention J. Day, and do you think he cares? I kind of doubt it.

PASSOV: Unless you're in an office pool, the only thing that matters about picking a pre-tournament favorite is that he wins, not whether he's top 5. Day has reminded me of Tom Lehman in the 1990s. He didn't win much, but he always seemed to be center stage in the majors -- to his credit. I don't think he deserved any more hype or love, since he hadn't sealed the deal very much, but nobody out there was questioning his talent. I'm predicting the toughness he showed in winning the Match Play will translate into multiple wins.

RITTER: Not sure it's fair to say he wasn't a favorite -- after all, three of the 14 entries in our office bracket pool had Day as the winner, making him the most-picked champ. He's on the short list of best players to have never won a major, and I expect him to be one of the top five or six favorites in each of the majors this year. It's time for him to take that next step.

MORFIT: It's hard to make anyone a favorite when he has only one official Tour win. But winning the individual and team trophy (with Adam Scott) at the World Cup, and his family's losses to Typhoon Haiyan, seem to have been formative experiences for Day.

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