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Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Times, They Are A-Changin'

I'm sure you think I'm referring to the loss of the "usual suspects" in the Accenture Match Play and the great showing by the young players... but you'd be wrong.

It's the fact that most of the big names are gone but I'm not sure anyone will really notice. We've got some really good matches this weekend that pretty much cover the gamut of the golf world.

Here are the pairings for the quarters. The winner of the first two brackets will face each other to give us one finalist. The other finalist comes from the last two brackets:

1) Bobby Jones Bracket
  • Ryan Moore vs Luke Donald
A battle of young traditionalists.

2: Ben Hogan Bracket
  • Matt Kuchar vs Y.E. Yang
The 2010 scoring and money list winner against the Tiger tamer.

3) Gary Player Bracket
  • Martin Kaymer vs Miguel Angel Jimenez
The man many believe should be World #1 (and he will be if he makes it to the finals) against the man branded "The Most Interesting Golfer in the World."

4) Sam Snead Bracket
  • Bubba Watson vs J.B. Holmes
The battle of the bombers. You're welcome.

How can you not love these matchups? There's something for everybody... and most of these players have become "names" in their own right, so they may be able to pull some ratings.

I'll be honest with you: I don't think Kaymer will get it done. I'm pulling for Jimenez, but I think the final will likely be Bubba Watson against Luke Donald. The consolation match? Miguel Angel Jimenez against Y.E. Yang. These are the guys who seem to be playing the best.

Meanwhile, a world away in Thailand... the HSBC Women's Champions has taken a bit of a turn. The Tseng Dynasty is under attack by the outside world! Yani's struggling a bit this week -- after 4 straight weeks of nearly flawless golf, I suppose we can cut her a little slack -- but the battle has clearly been joined by some LPGA upstarts. (Yes, the "usual suspects" are struggling a bit on that tour as well.) Let's take a quick look at the world rankings of the players in the mix, bearing in mind that this is the first real chance many of them have had to move up in the last couple of months.

Chie Arimura (#19) and Karrie Webb (#13) have pretty much had the top spot to themselves. They separated themselves from the pack by a couple of strokes Friday and picked up the battle today. When I last checked, Chie was at -12 and Karrie at -10.

Sun Yoo Young (#30) had also positioned herself well, but is struggling to gain on the leaders. She had fallen a stroke to -5, where she was joined by Na Yeon Choi (#4).

The real mover has been I.K. Kim (#7), who's been struggling since her collapse in the final round last week. Saturday she found her stuff again, posting a -5 round to vault up 17 spots to 4th... where she was tied with Yani at -4. and 3 players stood at -2 -- a group that included Cristie Kerr (#2) and the unrelated Miyazatos, Ai (#6) and Mika (#22).

But let's face it -- unless they get some help from the leaders, nobody's going to catch Arimura or Webb. I guess being #1 is no guarantee of success, no matter what tour you're on.

At least that hasn't changed. ;-)

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