Ah, this is one of my favourite times of the year. I got my chocolate fill from Valentine’s Day, Super Bowl Sunday is still relevant and March Madness is right around the corner. While Sunday was a beautiful day, filled with a Canadian gold medal and my boy, Dustin “DJ” Johnson, locked up a win at Pebble Beach, I couldn’t stop thinking about my bracket.
The WGC Accenture Match Play Championship is one of my favourite tournaments of the year. Filling out my bracket for this event is more enjoyable than that of the NCAA tournament. I don’t care that Tiger and Phil aren’t playing… I don’t care about the groove rule. I care about the best players on the planet coming together and the European boys getting a chance to shine on North American soil for the first time this year.
The beasts of the European Tour scream consistency. Westwood, McIlroy, Karlsson, Jiminez and Karlsson are always at the top of the leaderboard and there’s so much talent over there.
For Nike Golf, the top players are as follows, along with their World Golf Rankings:
- Paul Casey (7)
- Stewart Cink (21)
- Lucas Glover (22)
- Anthony Kim (28)
- Charl Schwartzel (37)
- Francesco Molinari (46)
- Simon Dyson (54)
- Justin Leonard (58)
- Stephen Ames (63)
Last year, 2 of the final 4, were Nike Athletes and the chances are good again this year for a similar story. However, I think the Europeans will dominate. Let’s move on to the Bracket Analysis. My full bracket can be seen below.
Bobby Jones Bracket
When I think of match play, three names pop into my head, two of them being Anthony Kim and Ian Poulter. On the top of the bracket, Fisher and Stricker is a dream matchup and I don’t think they’ll have much trouble advancing. The intrigue here is Stricker vs. Fisher and Poulter vs. AK.
I would be all over an AK/Fisher rematch from the Volvo World Matchplay Championship, but it’s such a tossup. They’re all playing so well and you can’t be mad about any of the resulting matchups. I have to pick one though..so…here it is: (For the record, I would be happiest with an AK vs. Fisher rematch)
Bracket Final: Stricker vs. Poulter
Bracket underdog: AK. He’s not really an underdog in my mind, but I don’t think people are giving him a lot of credit. In my mind, he’s the lowest seed in this bracket with a chance to win it.
Gary Player Bracket
This is a tricky bracket. Westwood is a master, but I don’t think he’s a lock in match play. We all know Watney can get hot, and that could mean trouble for Westwood. The other matchup that gets me excited is DJ vs. Ogilvy. These are the two of the hottest golfers in my mind and the winner (if they face each other) will win the Bobby Jones Bracket.
Bracket Final: Westwood vs. D. Johnson
Bracket underdog: Ryan Moore. I have him beating Ernie and also Retief. He’s very much underrated and has really improved his play over the past year.
Ben Hogan Bracket
McIlroy is the sexy pick and he should be. The kid is a stud and I expect him to face off against Kaymer or Glover. I’m not expecting much from Sergio and I think Toms can beat him in the first round.
There’s a great potential matchup of Jiminez vs. McIlroy solely based on the Dubai Desert Classic from this year, having McIlroy win it last year.
Bracket final: Glover vs. McIlroy
Bracket underdog: Graeme McDowell. He’s got the game to get past Donald and Allenby, and he would love the chance to take on Rors, his fellow countryman.
Sam Snead Bracket
Paul Casey should be advancing here, at least to the bracket finals. He’s healthy and has been solid so far this year. My concern with this bracket is with the Americans at the top. Potentially, Furyk, Mahan, Cink and O’Hair will move on. Furyk and Cink have the experience and Mahan has been super shaky this year. However, I’m looking for a big rebound from Mahan. I think he needs something to get him going and this is it. I’m not expecting anything from Kenny Perry, either.
Olympic Special: Ames vs. Weir in round 2. I think both of them will lose, but it’s still exciting. After all, I am Canadian.
Bracket Final: Mahan vs. Casey
Bracket underdog: Francesco Molinari. I actually have him meeting up with Casey in round 3. Either of the brothers will do well here. I think Mahan might be a bit of an underdog too because he hasn’t started the year well.
In my final 16, I have 9 European Tourboys (including Rors, even though he’s a PGA player now). Also in that 16 are 5 Nike Golfers.
I don’t really want to see Ogilvy win again. I see this happening a few ways: if Stricker wins he is this year’s Tiger Woods. If a young stud wins (AK, McIlroy, DJ, O’Hair, Poulter…whoever) it can make golf exciting without Tiger.
I have Rory winning it all, Casey in 2nd and Poulter in 3rd. Heartbreak yet again for Paul Casey.
I really feel like Poulter can pull it off against Stricker. I can picture Poulter draining long putts and completely charging up Arizona and torching the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club.
In summary, there’s so much talent here that a potential win at The Mayakoba Classic by Duval could be overshadowed. Oh yeah, there’s another prediction.