KAVARNA, Bulgaria –– It took 12 months, but Graeme McDowell finally gained revenge on Nicolas Colsaerts for losing last year’s Volvo World Match Play final.
The Northern Irishman defeated Colsaerts, 2 and 1, even though the Belgian made one of the more famous up-and-downs in the history of golf, saving a par from a restroom on the 10th hole.
Yes, a restroom.
McDowell was 3 up at the time when Colsaerts went for the green. His ball ended up in a small restroom to the left of the green. Bizarrely, he was forced to take a drop inside the restroom. Eventually, he was allowed to take relief since the rest room was an immoveable obstruction. He then pitched onto the green and made a par to halve the hole.
“I don’t remember the last time I had a half out of a toilet,” Colsaerts said. “I’m sure it’s going to make the news about some Belgian playing golf out of a toilet. Even when I was a kid you’d have thought I was crazy enough to try some shots out of a toilet but I never did.
“I was just amused more than anything else. I thought (when referee Mark Litton told him to drop the ball in the toilet) I’m going to look like a clown. It’s fun to be recognized for stupid stuff like that.”
McDowell had his own take on the situation: “I guess it gives new meaning to the term ‘nearest point of relief,’” he quipped.
It was too bad this pair had to meet in the quarterfinals and not the final itself. This was a matchup worthy of the €800,000 first-place prize.
The Northern Irishman went down early to the Belgian, losing the par-4 third hole to a birdie. Four birdies in the next five holes, however, took care of proceedings even though he had to hang on as Colsaerts came back at him.
McDowell now faces South Africa’s Branden Grace in the semifinals. Grace defeated England’s Chris Wood, 2 and 1.
“There’s a little bit of pattern emerging in my games,” McDowell said. “I don’t think it’s too difficult to see what that pattern is. I’m getting off to great starts and around the 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th holes I’m losing my way a little bit.
“I’m giving guys like Bo Van Pelt (whom he beat in the Round of 16) and Nicolas Colsaerts a look in and you don’t want to really give guys like that a look in. I just need to stay aggressive.”
Colsaerts’ run to his Ryder Cup debut began in this event last year. However, his game was in better shape 12 months ago.
“My conclusion is that I need to putt a little better,” Colsaerts said. “If I had putted better then as I’ve proven in the past I can beat anybody else. I’ve just not putted well enough all week. If somehow I had putted half decent I would have won some of my games a lot easier and I would certainly have taken Graeme further down the course.”
South Africa’s Thomas Aiken defeated Francesco Molinari, 3 and 2, and faces Thongchai Jaidee in the other semifinal after Jaidee defeated Scott Jamieson, 4 and 3. McDowell still remains the odds-on favorite to win.
And hopefully restrooms won’t play a part in deciding the winner.