First things first: Apologies for the small font in the images of the brackets below, but I run a resource-starved operation. That said, I welcome donations.
As you may have heard, the Accenture Match Play starts today and neither the world’s number one, Tiger Woods, nor number three, Phil Mickelson, is in the field. Naturally, Tiger is hunkered down in some hiding hole, otherwise known as the gated community of Isleworth, and Phil, the quintessential family man, is taking a family vacation. This event stirred up huge hype last year, as Tiger staged his comeback after an eight-month break to recover from knee surgery.
It’s a little different this year, but hey, we got Steve Stricker, Lee Westwood, Jim Furyk and Martin Kaymer to take the top four seeds. Personally, I’m pumped because I love matchplay. I wish more PGA Tour events were played in this format, like the silly the FedEx Cup — or at least the final event. It’s exciting to watch two players battle it out in a one-on-one duel. Well, unless you get, like, Chad Campbell and Ben Crane in the finals. Snore. So, let’s hope that anomaly doesn’t happen this week.
Without further ado, presenting my random bracket picks, where I basically went down the list and went, eeny-meeny-miny-moe. But as you can see, I didn’t go too crazy. I guess I was feeling boring.
I love this bracket. Too many great players. As I learned with my Fantasy Golf picks for the Northern Trust Open, Steve Stricker is always a safe bet. And I’d just really like to see him cry again. I’m sure David Feherty could rouse more tears from Stricks than Roger Maltbie could. But I’d love to see the young dudes, Anthony Kim and Ryo Ishikawa, go far. With the way both have played this season, I’m not sure. Then again, like the annoying cliche goes, anything can happen.
Geoff Ogilvy is defending and he’s already repeated once this year with his win at the season-opener, the SBS Championship. He also has a mind-blowing 89.4% winning percentage. But he might be a little distracted and sleep-deprived, since his wife just gave birth to their third child last week. Putting aside my personal bias, I’d keep an eye out on Ryan Moore. He doesn’t hold one of the most decorated amateur careers for no reason. His last summer before turning pro, he won the US Amatuer, the Western Amateur and US Amateur Public Links — all in matchplay. He’s done crazy things, like win the last four holes, carding birdies on three, to win the US Amateur two-up. Expect him to feel comfortable in this atmosphere.
It’d be great to see The Irish Kid Who Will Save The PGA Tour, you know, win or something, but apparently he’s been having some back problems. Perhaps worrisome, but he’s only 20. Last year he made a splash by making it to the quarterfinals, where he was ousted by eventual champ Ogilvy. If Allenby and McIlroy meet like I predicted, let’s hope Allenby doesn’t blame it on something silly, like how he should have gone out partying with him until 4AM. I’d like to see the 25-year-old Martin Kaymer, who won his fifth European Tour event in Abu Dhabi recently, matched up with McIlroy in the quarterfinals. Because, well, the entertainment value. Duh.
Other than the Molinaris, who are the first brothers to play the event in the same year, and the preposterously long-hitting Alvaros Quiros, this bracket is pretty vanilla. But you got your usual suspects. Now I can’t remember why I chose Furyk. The word “safe” comes to mind, which doesn’t make that much sense now because in recent years he’s faltered when he reached the Sweet 16.
So in the Final Four, I have Stricker, McIlroy, Moore and Furyk. As always, my sincere regrets if they’re hit with the awful Wei jinx. Who are your favorites for the week? You know what to do — drop them below. Please.