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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Bracket Racket

The talk about the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship is underway! Tomorrow the first round begins, and you can download your own copy of the brackets here.

In the meantime, let me make my picks for the Final Four. Given the vagaries of match play, I'll probably be blown out of the water by the end of Wednesday, but I'm going to give it a try anyway.

The Bobby Jones bracket is headlined by Rory McIlroy but, in my typical style, I didn't go for the Number 1 seed. There are several good match players here, including Graeme McDowell (who I really like this week), Rickie Fowler, and Zach Johnson. However, I'm taking Charl Schwartzel to come out of this bracket. And it's not just that Charl has been hot lately. I like players that don't make many mistakes, and Charl has been awfully consistent. When you consider that one or two bad holes may not hurt you in match play, that makes a player like Charl very attractive as a pick.

In the Gary Player bracket, headlined by multiple Accenture winner Tiger Woods, the competition will be fierce. Several Ryder Cuppers are in this side of the draw -- such as Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer -- as well as defending champion Hunter Mahan. Nevertheless, I'm taking Tiger to get it done. With his short game in better shape and a 2013 victory already in his pocket as well, I think he's primed to do well.

The Sam Snead bracket is headlined by 2011 champion Luke Donald and has a mixed bag of players, with Paul Lawrie (don't overlook him), Steve Stricker, David Toms (always a threat here), Nick Watney, and Adam Scott. The ThunderBear, Thorbjorn Olesen, makes his Accenture debut in this bracket as well. However, this one's a no-brainer for me. I have to take 2010 champion Ian Poulter, although I don't know how much of his late-2012 mojo he's got left.

Finally there's the Ben Hogan bracket, headlined by Louis Oosthuizen. This bracket may be the most unpredictable of the lot, since this one has the most unpredictable players in the event. You have Matt Kuchar, K.J. Choi, Keegan Bradley, and Justin Rose... but you've also got Hiroyuki Fujita, Thongchai Jaidee, Ernie Els, and the Belgian Bomber, Nicolas Colsaerts. Sergio's also in this bracket, and I really wanted to take him because I like the way he's been playing... but I can't. I've got a feeling something weird is going to happen in this bracket, so I'm taking the Junkman, Fredrik Jacobson.

So there you have my Final Four: Charl Schwartzel, Tiger Woods, Ian Poulter, and Fredrik Jacobson. I have no idea who would ultimately come out on top. But this would give us Woods VS Poulter in the semis. What more could you ask for? (Granted, a Garcia VS Woods final might be nice, but don't say McIlroy VS Woods. Poulter carried McIlroy at the Ryder Cup, so give me the big boy!)

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