Here we are, one of the greatest and most exciting events of the year. Where we have 64 of the Top 66 golfers in the world (as placed by the Official World Golf Rankings). This is my favourite event of the year and you can take a look at my bracket analysis from last year.
I won’t go through such lengths this year, but I will break down the chances for each of the Nike athletes in Arizona this week. Also, we’ll post the NG Nation Staff’s completed brackets.
Here are each of the Nike athletes in action this week along with their Official Ranking;
- Tiger Woods (3)
- Paul Casey (6)
- Francesco Molinari (16)
- Charl Schwartzel (25)
- Anthony Kim (34)
- Stewart Cink (57)
Sadly, Vegas (71), Glover (75) and Dyson (77) just missed out.
Let’s take a peek at how these Nike Staffers will fare in their respective brackets. Full bracket here >>
BOBBY JONES BRACKET
Francesco Molinari (5)
Molinari has had a good start to his season. T15 at the Tournament of Champions, 8th at Abu Dhabi and 20th at Volvo World Champions. Pretty solid start and he’s flying under the radar this week. Francesco lost after the first round last year, but should improve on that this year. He faces Ryan Moore in the first round, so it should be a good matchup, but I think Francesco will prevail. Even still, this bracket is tough nuts. He will most likely face Retief Goosen and then either Watney, Westwood or Kim. Tough roads, bro.
Charl Schwartzel (6)
Scwhartzy is a hot one, sitting in 2nd in the Race to Dubai standings. He hasn’t had a finish outside of the Top 10 thus far in the 2011 season. Charl cracked the Sweet 16 last year, picking up a T9. The year before he finished T17. He’s improved in each of his starts, so I would be surprised if he cracked the Elite Eight this year. He has to get past Ryo Ishikawa, Stricker and then possible Luke Donald.
Anthony Kim (9)
AK has an insanely tough beginning, taking on arguable the hottest golfer on the planet right now in Nick Watney. Even if AK moves past Westwood, he would have to go against Lee Westwood, then possibly Luke Donald or Steve Stricker. Tough road for AK, so we’ll see how he ends up. He’s definitely a gamer so I actually wouldn’t be surprised if he got past Watney and Westwood, even though he’d be an underdog in both situations. AK has yet to see past the 2nd round, even though he dominated at the Volvo World Match Play, finishing 2nd.
It will be really tough for either of these Nike athletes to make it out of this bracket.
BEN HOGAN BRACKET
Stewart Cink (14)
Cink has one of the best records here. Just take a look; T5 last year, 3rd in ’09, 2nd in ’08, T9 in ’07, T33 in ’06, T5 in ’05, T17 in ’04. Just based on this and the fact that he’s one of the most consistent golfers on the planet, he should be a favourite to win this week. However, Cink faces Ian Poulter in the first round, who may be the only person that has a better track record here than Cinker. It should be one of the best first round matchups. However, I think this is the hardest bracket with Phil, Kuchar, Fisher, McDowell, Quiros and the big sleeper, Oosthuizen.
SAM SNEAD BRACKET
Tiger Woods (1)
Tiger is the ultimate wildcard this weekend. He actually faces a tough test in his first round against Thomas Bjorn, who won in Qatar this year. Tiger of course has a great history here, but I think he could get caught off guard early. If he does survive Bjorn, Ogilvy and Paddy will be more than ready to go on a hunt for Tiger.
Paul Casey (2)
Casey looks like the favourite to win this week as he was the runner up in 2010 and 2009. He was also T9 in ’08 and T5 in ’07. He’s also coming off of a fresh T12 at the Northern Trust Open. Honestly I think Casey also has the easiest path to the Final 4. He needs to get past Jason Day (most likely) then either Els, Overton, Villegas or Holmes..then either Tiger, Ogilvy, DJ, Paddy or Bubba. None of them are particularly on their game. However, it would be fun to see Tiger vs. Casey in that bracket’s final.
NG NATION STAFF PICKS