CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) -- For those who have a problem with the format of the Match Play Championship, the quarterfinalists have one thing to say -- get over it.
Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and David Duval have been gone since Wednesday's opening round. Only one golfer in the top 10 made it through to the quarterfinals, No. 6 David Toms.
The marquee players are gone from La Costa, which might not please TV executives and some ticket-holders. But the eight remaining players -- seven of them are Americans -- have certainly earned their spots.
There have been suggestions that the first few rounds be stroke play, followed by match play, in order to keep the big names around at least until the weekend.
Tom Lehman, the 28th seed who survived into Saturday's quarterfinals, disagrees.
"Well, I think it's crazy," Lehman said after his 4 and 3 win over No. 53 Matt Gogel on Friday. "I mean, maybe TV doesn't like it so much that Tiger is not here, but what the heck, if Pete Sampras loses the first round, he doesn't keep on playing until he makes it to the finals. That's the way sports is. The top guy can lose to the bottom guy and that's the beauty of sports."
Scott McCarron, the 45th seed who eliminated No. 4 Sergio Garcia, said the pressure is enormous and match play can give golfers gray hairs. But he says the seedings mean nothing.
"As far as marquee players, the guys who are left are playing the best in the world now. These are your marquee players. I don't care who they are," McCarron said.
That said, though, the remaining seeds look like lottery picks: No. 6 Toms, No. 17 Bob Estes, No. 25 Paul Azinger, No. 26 Jose Maria Olazabal, No. 28 Lehman, No. 45 McCarron, No. 47 Brad Faxon and No. 62 Kevin Sutherland.
It was the third time in four years of the Accenture Match Play Championship that only one top-10 seed was remaining after the first three rounds.
"Obviously, everybody sticking around is liking it OK," Azinger said. "The guys that are here are here for a reason. They are here because they are playing really decent golf."
Azinger looked like a beaten man Friday, 2 down with four holes to play. After birdies on four of the next five holes, he won in 20 holes over Niclas Fasth of Sweden.
Toms looked like he might fall 2-down to good friend Steve Flesch until the PGA champion holed a 60-foot birdie putt from one side of the 14th green to the other. Toms finished off Flesch with a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a 1-up victory.
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