The sweet 16 is set at the Accenture Match Play, and it's the most USA-heavy group in 10 years. There were nine Americans who made it through the second round, and a majority of them are likely to be on the Ryder Cup team this fall. While most TV sets will be on the Canada-USA hockey game at Noon, the matches in Arizona don't start until 1 p.m. and should be rolling throughout the afternoon following the biggest sporting event of the day.
The marquee match on Friday is, unfortunately, a clash between two Americans. The No. 2 seed Matt Kuchar will get the No. 3 seed Jordan Spieth in the Gary Player bracket. It was just a year ago that Spieth was considered a good American prospect without a PGA Tour card, playing qualifying events and on sponsors exemptions at the start of his career. Now? He's got full status, a win at the age of 19 (the first in 80 some years), Presidents Cup match play experience, and a three seed in one of the bigger points and cash events of the season. It's been an astonishing rise, and he's separated himself from the rest of the young American talent.
But he'll get the defending champ in Kuchar, a steady match play ace who, like Spieth, has not had to break a sweat through the first two rounds. Kuchar is a money-making machine, and he's clearly hit a groove in this event and at this Tucson venue. He'll be the favorite, but it's yet another moment for Spieth to live up to the hype as the next great American golfer. The match is the last of the day, anchoring the tee sheet at 2:19 p.m. EST.
As the field continues to shrink, the Tour obviously enjoys more and more flexibility with the schedule and the corresponding TV coverage shortens. Friday's coverage is pushed back another hour on Golf Channel, which won't come on the air until 2 p.m. The first match between Harris English and Jim Furyk, however, should only be four or five holes in so all eight matches will get plenty of play if their good enough. The broadcast is scheduled to end at 6 p.m., but Golf Channel has stayed on the air the first two rounds until the final match was complete, which sometimes added almost an hour of coverage as pairings went to extra holes. As usual, if you can't watch on TV, there will be a simulcast running online via Golf Channel's LiveExtra service. Here are your media options for Friday's third round:
Friday: Round of 16 coverage
TV: Golf Channel - 2 to 6 p.m.
Online: Golf Live Extra - 2 to 6 p.m.
Radio: PGA Tour Network - 12 to 6 p.m.