The World Golf Championships- Accenture Match Play Championship is one of the best tournaments of the year. The top 64 players in the world are invited and square off in a "March Madness" like match play event. Win and move on, lose and you're out.
The tournament is divided into four brackets named after some of the best players to ever play the game: Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, and Sam Snead.
The Bobby Jones Bracket
The Bobby Jones Bracket features the #1 ranked player in the world, Lee Westwood. The first round matchup I'm looking forward to in the Bobby Jones Bracket is between two Americans: #8 Nick Watney v. #9 Anthony Kim. The youngster Kim is off to a good start in 2011 after a injury filled 2010. Kim's best finish in 2011 is a tie for 6th and he withdrew last week from the Northern Trust Open due to illness.
Nick Watney is three for three in events, cuts made, and top 10's. In the three events he has started in 2011, his worst finish is 6th place. He's consistent and cool under pressure. I think he'll win this match and give Lee Westwood a run for his money.
My Bobby Jones Bracket Winner: Francesco Molinari of Italy. He impressed me at the Ryer Cup and has continued to play well on the European Tour. It will be interesting to see if him and is brother Eduardo face off against each other in the later rounds.
The Ben Hogan Bracket
The top seed in the Ben Hogan Bracket Phil Mickelson. Earlier this year there were reports Mickelson would not play but later committed to the event. He earns the #4 seed in the event despite being the #5 ranked player in the world. He has two top 10's in 2011 and his best finish is second place at the Farmers Insurance Open.
This bracket has potential to be one of the most exciting in tournament history. Players like Ian Poulter (who won the event in 2010), Graeme McDowell, Rickie Fowler, and Matt Kuchar have me scratching my head at who will come out the winner. If they all advance, we can expect to see some great golf in round two and beyond.
My Pick to Win the Ben Hogan Bracket: Graeme McDowell. After seeing what he did at the Chevron World Championships last year, we know he can knock in big putts under pressure. You can not count him out of any hole and he's playing as good as anyone in the world right now.
The Gary Player Bracket
The top seed in the Gary Player bracket is ranked #2 in the world, Martin Kaymer of Germany. Kaymer is making his 2011 debut on American soil and has already won on the European Tour this year. While the win to start the season looked promising, he has since cooled off finishing out of the top 25 in his last two tournaments.
The Gary Player Bracket has a great combination of youth and experience. Guys like Adam Scott, Rory McIlroy and Ryan Palmer will look to take it to veterans Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jim Furyk. I'm looking forward to the first round match between Hunter Mahan and Sean O'Hair. The winner of this has the potential to go deep into the tournament.
My Pick to Win the Gary Player Bracket: Miguel Angel Jimenez. His experience will play a big role here and if he can get out of the first two rounds, I like him to be in the final four.
The Sam Snead Bracket
The Sam Snead Bracket is my pick for most exciting bracket. Tiger Woods, who last won this event in 2008, has earned top honors with his #3 world golf ranking. Tiger is going throughout a winless streak bringing him back to 2009. This format might mix things up enough for him to claim victory.
I will not be surprises if the winner comes from this bracket. Names like Geoff Ogilvy (former winner of this event), Padraig Harrington, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Paul Casey and Ernie Els make this the most challenging bracket for players and the most entertaining for fans. While my heart says Bubba Watson, the injury last week makes me hesitant to take him in such a grueling tournament.
My Pick to Win the Sam Snead Bracket: I'm going with Geoff Ogilvy. He's won here before and itching for a win after his start to 2011 was delayed due to an injury while swimming before the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
The WGC- Accenture Match Play Final Four
According to my picks, I have Francescon Molinari v. Graeme McDowell in one semi-final match up. I'll take McDowell to advance and face the winner of Miguel Angel Jimenez and Geoff Ogilvy. In a tough one to call, I'll take Ogilvy to come out on top and face McDowell for the title.
In a 36-hole grind, I'm going to take Ogilvy to win the whole thing. He's done it before, is cool under pressure and has been playing well. Geoff Ogilvy will win the 2011 WGC Accenture Match Play Championship.