by Jeff Skinner
It is golf’s answer to March Madness. It is the Accenture Match Play Championship and it gives all of us golf fans a chance to work our own kind of madness and “Bracketology.” Try your luck here at Golfweek and you may win some cool stuff.
The Match Play always gives us an interesting first day and watching this head to head, loser go home format is exciting as well as sadistic. No matter how you slice it 32 golfers are heading home after round one and that’s pretty hard to take sometimes. The good thing about match play is that one hole doesn’t mean that much. You can blow up on a hole but it’s only one hole. At the same time it’s all or nothing in one day. In a medal play tournament you have a chance to recover from a bad round. Here, one bad round and you’re hitting the highway.
Here’s a look at some of the interesting matches that we’ll see on Wednesday.
All the number one seeds look to have a distinct advantage over their 16th seeded opponents but you never know.
Luke Donald vs Ernie Els: World number one versus a three time major winner. Els isn’t playing well but he knows how to scrape his game together. Donald is hoping to defend his 2011 title and has never lost a first round match here.
Martin Kaymer vs Greg Chalmers: Kaymer has a 9th and a 13th finish on the Euro Tour while Chalmers best to date is a T19 in Phoenix.
Rory McIlroy vs George Coetzee: With all of Rory’s talent it will be take a world class meltdown by Rory not to move on.
Lee Westwood vs Nicolas Colsaerts: Westwood never makes it to the weekend here but he’s a good bet to top Colsaerts.
How about a few upsets?
K.J. Choi (4) vs Kyle Stanley (13): Choi plays tough under every format but Stanley is playing excellent golf lately.
Adam Scott (2) vs Robert Rock (15): Scott will have to contend with the best hair in the game. And Rock is still flying high from his win over Tiger.
Dustin Johnson (3) vs Jim Furyk (14): DJ has great game but it can go as quickly as it comes. Don’t be surprised if Johnson gets stung by Furyk.
Bubba Watson (3) vs Ben Crane (12): This pairing of ‘golf Boys” will leave one of them singing the blues. Crane is as slow as it gets and Bubba like to let it rip. That may be a formula for an upset.
Steve Stricker (2) vs Kevin Na (13): Strick already has a win this year but Na is playing well with two top tens this season.
Besides the number one seeds these may be the closest thing to a lock.
Ian Poulter (6) vs Sang-moon Bae (11): Poulter won this event in 2010 and just plain loves match play.
Tiger Woods (5) vs G. Fernandez-Castano (12): Tiger’s game is coming around and in good enough shape to dispatch the Spaniard.
Bill Haas (3) vs Ryo Ishikawa (14): Even if he has a letdown after his win at Riviera Haas has enough to get past the struggling Ishikawa.
The match I most want to follow:
Sergio Garcia (4) vs Miguel Angel Jimenez (13): It’s a shame that one of these two have to pack it in after day one. Garcia is in the middle of a career resurgence and Jimenez is just the most interesting man to watch on a golf course.