McIlroy won the Arnold Palmer Invitational last Sunday, but had less than 72 hours to celebrate before the Wednesday start of the Match Play.
Where Kisner seems to be made in a lab to play match play (Note to U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk, following victories for Kisner this week over match play "ninja" Ian Poulter and Alex Noren you may want to have him fitted for a team uniform now), Watson's relationship with the format is something of a mixed bag.
"Last year was a really low point in my life mentally, physically, and a couple of wins later it cheers you up and makes you feel a lot better", he said. "Bubba did. He had to learn to be more conservative and gear back and he's done a good job of that". He's a really great player. I just know it wasn't right. During that span, Watson was a conservative 1 under par.
That was the year the reigning PGA champion - Martin Kaymer - only had to beat Watson to reach No. 1 in the world.
Going from being the tournament favorite and potentially securing a No. 1 ranking to having to play in a consolation match can't be easy, and Thomas let it show.
Bubba acknowledged his good luck in the final presser, the powder blue trophy resting on the table in front of him, his 11th career PGA Tour win and second WGC title.
Thomas then lost to Noren in the third-place playoff as the Swede earned a third top-three finish of the season with a 5 & 3 victory.
If Watson should win what would be a 12th Tour victory he will be joined by Justin Thomas as the only players to win two Tour titles this season.More news: Mnuchin urges Congress to give Trump unconstitutional line-item veto
"I just got off to a hot start", an emotional Watson told Steve Sands of NBC. "And I'm back holing putts". I didn't play well today. I haven't been trying to play my opponent too much. Thomas missed a short putt for birdie on the fifth hole.
"I have confidence knowing that I am fit and healthy again", Watson said. 'In the middle of the round I had a few hiccups.
"Next time I won't listen to other people". He burned the edges.
Poulter needed to reach the semi-finals to crack Monday's top 50 in the world rankings and book a spot at the Masters in two weeks.
Poulter was able to hold on as both men parred the penultimate hole, and he cut a relieved figure ahead of his last eight match with Kevin Kisner, which he went on to lose 8 and 6.
"It s just one of those deals".
Kisner was chasing the biggest title of his career, having won PGA crowns at Colonial a year ago and Sea Island in 2015.
It was Poulter who prevailed - winning 2 and 1 - but he had led by four shots with five to play after a scintillating round that nearly saw a hole-in-one at the 11th.