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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

My "4 to Watch" at the WGC-Dell Match Play

Yes, you read that correctly. While I would normally pick five players for a WGC, this is a match play event with a bracket. Therefore I'm picking my "Final Four."

The WGC-Dell Match Play trophy, aka the Walter Hagen Cup

If you want to fill out the entire bracket, you can download a PDF of the groupings at this link.

Of course, I rarely bother doing that. My rules this week are very simple:
I pick the one player from each "region" of the bracket who I believe will reach the "Final Four." It's unusual for more than one of my picks to make it that far, so that player will become my choice to win. And should I have the rare privilege of accurately picking more than one of the "Final Four," I'll then choose one of them as my eventual winner.
Got it? Then let's move on.

Since the brackets are no longer labeled -- remember when you had a Hagen bracket, or a Snead bracket? -- I'll simply refer to the brackets according to the highest-ranked player in each one. That means we have a Dustin Johnson bracket, a Rory McIlroy bracket, a Jason Day bracket, and a Hideki Matsuyama bracket.
  • In the Johnson bracket, I'm choosing Patrick Reed to get through. While this is a fairly tough bracket with several Ryder Cuppers, how can I not pick Captain America to get the job done?
  • In the McIlroy bracket, it's a no-brainer. Although Garcia and Rahm should be the most interesting round-robin match-up in this bracket, my money's on Rory McIlroy. He has the best record in this event of anybody teeing up. We'll also get a rematch of last year during the round-robin, as Gary Woodland is in the same group as Rory, but I expect Rory to win his group easily.
  • In the Day bracket, I'm taking Phil Mickelson. Phil's go-for-it style will either end his hopes in the round-robin stage or propel him deep into the competition. Given how he's been playing, I'm guessing he'll go far this year.
  • And in the Matsuyama group, I'm taking a flier. Although Louis Oosthuizen is in the group and I feel that he should be the favorite to emerge, I'm taking Paul Casey. The last time I took Casey, he was beaten by sickness during the Saturday matches. I think he could capture lightning in a bottle this week.
Remember, GC broadcasts the round-robin matches starting Wednesday at 2pm ET.

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