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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Picks for the Funnest Week of the Season!

Yes, the WGC-Accenture Match Play is finally here! (And yes, I know that "funnest" isn't in the dictionary, but I like it.) And it's time for me to make my annual fruitless attempt at picking the winners, since somebody will probably lose and screw me up the very first day.

the Accenture ball

First of all, here's the homepage for the event. It's not just the place to keep track of scores, but it's where you can play the Bracket Challenge if you're so inclined. Got it? Good.

Now, let's see if I can find my notes... Hah! Who am I kidding? This is all about gut feeling at this point. All I'm going to do is pick my Final Four, the guys who will come out of each bracket to fight it out on the weekend. But in the process I'll try to give you an idea what each bracket will be like.

Let's start with the Bobby Jones bracket, where Henrik Stenson is the 1 seed. This group has a number of Presidents Cuppers and a few Ryder Cuppers in it. I don't see this as a particularly strong bracket -- and I know I'm in the minority there -- but I'll be surprised if the final winner comes from this group. While I'm tempted to take 5 seed Webb Simpson, I'm going long on this one and picking 11 seed Patrick Reed to come out of this group. My reasoning is that anybody tough enough to Monday qualify as many times at Patrick, get on Tour that way, and then win his first year out is a good bet in match play.

Next we have the Ben Hogan bracket, where Rory McIlroy is the 1 seed. This will be a tough bracket because of the number of European Ryder Cuppers in it. Although McIlroy or 3 seed Ian Poulter are the most obvious choices, I'm going with 2 seed Sergio Garcia. Sergio has been to the Accenture finals before; coupled with his recent good form (2 wins) and improved attitude, I think he could put it together this week.

Then there's the Gary Player bracket with 1 seed Justin Rose. This group is a mismash of players -- good players, but they don't have a lot in common. You've got a couple of long hitters (Piercy and Stallings), a couple of past winners (Kuchar and Donald), major winners (Els, Rose, and Dufner), youngsters (Spieth and Manassero), and veterans (Els and Bjorn). I'm taking 3 seed Jordan Spieth from this group simply because he's been in contention nearly every week he's played and the occasional bad score that has kept him from winning won't hurt him so much here. However, I won't be surprised if 6 seed Thomas Bjorn comes out of this group -- he's been sneaky good over the last year or so.

Finally we have the Sam Snead bracket, headed up by 1 seed Zach Johnson. This is the bomber bracket, what with Woodland, DJ, Bubba, Keegan, Dubuisson, and Matsuyama (he's pretty long as well). Zach and Graeme McDowell aren't long hitters but you've got to give them some respect. And you've also got Hunter Mahan in this group, who's a past winner and nearly made it two last year. I'm going long on this bracket as well. I've been touting 7 seed Victor Dubuisson for a year and a half now; he's got a win and a 3rd in the last couple of months on the ET and this is his first try at the Accenture. I like his chances.

And there you have it -- my Final Four for the Accenture. Let's see if I get any of them right this year.

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