The WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship kicks off on Wednesday at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain and the first round pairings have been released.
Just from a quick glace, there are obviously several interesting matches, but for some reason, I remember last year’s being more fun? Maybe not, though — it’s late and I’m tired (and just pumped to be going home for the first time since December 18th, besides the 22-hour stopover last month). I’ve made some notes in brackets below.
Because you’re all wondering, Tiger Woods is set to face Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. Woods is seeded No. 19, the first time he’s played this event without being among the top three seeds.
Phil the Thrill is skipping the event because he’s going on vacation with his family and Paul Casey is out due to injury. Without further ado, here are the pairings via the AP (via Golfweek):
• Luke Donald (1), England, vs. Ernie Els (64), South Africa. [*Both shot 78 in the final round at Riviera, but Luke missed the cut last year at the NTO and then went on to win the Match Play, so he's got that going for him!]
• Rory McIlroy (2), Northern Ireland, vs. George Coetzee (63), South Africa. [*Now everyone will know what George Coetzee looks like...wait, if he even makes the telecast. Go Rors! -- his 2012 U.S. debut.]
• Lee Westwood (3), England, vs. Nicolas Colsaerts (62), Belgium.
• Martin Kaymer (4), Germany, vs. Greg Chalmers (61), Australia.
• Steve Stricker (5), United States, vs. Kevin Na (60), United States.
• Webb Simpson (6), United States, vs. Matteo Manassero (59), Italy. [*Both don't hit it incredibly long, so this should be a good match -- I'll take Manny.]
• Jason Day (7), Australia, vs. Rafael Cabrera Bello (58), Spain.
• Adam Scott (8), Australia, vs. Robert Rock (57), England. [*So dreamy! So GQ! Hint: Guys, this will be the group all the ladies will be following.]
• Dustin Johnson (9), United States, vs. Jim Furyk (56), United States. [*You could say their games are on the opposite sides of the spectrum.]
• Charl Schwartzel (10), South Africa, vs. Gary Woodland (55), United States. [*This could be intriguing...]
• Bill Haas (11), United States, vs. Ryo Ishikawa (54), Japan. [*Last week's thrilling champ against the Japanese rock star -- can't go wrong!]
• Graeme McDowell (12), Northern Ireland, vs. Y.E. Yang (53), South Korea.
• Matt Kuchar (13), United States, vs. Jonathan Byrd (52), United States.
• Nick Watney (14), United States, vs. Darren Clarke (51), Northern Ireland.
• Sergio Garcia (15), Spain, vs. Miguel Angel Jimenez (50), Spain. [*Battle of the Spaniards. I got Serg winning it all, so, let's go!]
• K.J. Choi (16), South Korea, vs. Kyle Stanley (49), United States. [*Potentially a good duel...]
• Brandt Snedeker (17), United States, vs. Retief Goosen (48), South Africa.
• Keegan Bradley (18), United States, vs. Geoff Ogilvy (47), Australia. [*The Spitter and the 'Stash?]
• Tiger Woods (19), United States, vs. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (46), Spain. [*Because it's Tiger, who in the past couple of years has had a habit of...well, never mind.]
• Bubba Watson (20), United States, vs. Ben Crane (45), United States. [*Fast play vs. Slow play]
• Hunter Mahan (21), United States, vs. Zach Johnson (44), United States. [*Whose sunglasses are more hideous?]
• Justin Rose (22), England, vs. Paul Lawrie (43), Scotland.
• Ian Poulter (23), England, vs. Bae Sang-moon (42), South Korea.
• Thomas Bjorn (24), Denmark, vs. Francesco Molinari (41), Italy.
• Bo Van Pelt (25), United States, vs. Mark Wilson (40), United States.
• Simon Dyson (26), England, vs. John Senden (39), Australia.
• Alvaro Quiros (27), Spain, vs. Martin Laird (38), Scotland.
• Louis Oosthuizen (28), South Africa, vs. Aaron Baddeley (37), Australia.
• David Toms (29), United States, vs. Rickie Fowler (36), United States. [*Veteran vs. youth!]
• Robert Karlsson (30), Sweden, vs. Fredrik Jacobson (35), Sweden. [*They've got that Swedish thing going on...]
• K.T. Kim (31), South Korea, vs. Anders Hansen (34), Denmark.
• Jason Dufner (32), United States, vs. Peter Hanson (33), Sweden.