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BlogWGC-Accenture Match Play Championship Preview and Picks

WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship

February 19 – 23, 2014

The Golf Club at Dove Mountain

Marana, Ariz.

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,833

Purse: $9 million

with $1.5 Million to the winner

Defending Champion:
Matt Kuchar

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 47 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with only #1 Tiger Woods, #2 Adam Scott and #4 Phil Mickelson not playing.

The field includes only 13 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2014.  Those players are #1 Jimmy Walker, #2 Dustin Johnson, #3 Harris English, #4 Chris Kirk, #5 Bubba Watson, #6 Webb Simpson, #7 Zach Johnson, #8 Ryan Moore,  #9 Kevin Stadler,  #10 Patrick Reed, #12 Graham DeLaet, #13 Jordan Spieth and #14 Scott Stallings.

The field includes 13 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list.  Those players are #1 Jimmy Walker, #2 Dustin Johnson, #3 Harris English, #4 Bubba Watson, #5 Ryan Moore, #6 Webb Simpson, #7 Chris Kirk, #8 Zach Johnson, #9 Kevin Stadler, #10 Graham DeLaet, #12 Jordan Spieth, #14 Scott Stallings and #19 Ian Poulter.

The field includes 7 past champions: Steve Stricker (2001), Henrik Stenson (2007), Ian Poulter (2010), Luke Donald (2011), Hunter Mahan (2012) and Matt Kuchar (2013).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

This week’s posts:

  • Sometime on Monday we will have a look and breakdown of all 32 matches.  We will also have video breakdowns of all the matches.
  • We will also have our “Who should win” column after play on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday so join us everyday this week.

Match Play is a bit like Mad Max and the Thunderdoom, two men enter and only one man leaves, In this video preview of Wednesday, Sal looks at the 32 matches to tell you which 32 men will advance and which will go home.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship

Player Northern Trust AT&T Pebble Joburg Open Phoenix Open Dubai Desert Farmers Insurance Qatar Masters Humana Challenge Abu Dhabi Sony Open Volvo Champions Hyundai T of C
Jimmy Walker
(253 pts)
T20
(30)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T21
(9.67)
Bubba Watson
(250 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP T2
(100)
DNP T23
(18)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
George Coetzee
(232 pts)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Dustin Johnson
(220 pts)
2
(100)
T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T6
(20)
Stephen Gallacher
(194 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP T28
(14.67)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP T29
(14)
DNP
Patrick Reed
(167.33 pts)
DNP T13
(37)
DNP T19
(31)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
Graham Delaet
(166.67 pts)
T70
(0)
DNP DNP T2
(100)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jordan Spieth
(165.33 pts)
T12
(38)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 2
(33.33)
Kevin Stadler
(164 pts)
T23
(27)
T45
(5)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP T78
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Harris English
(162.67 pts)
T10
(40)
DNP DNP 9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP T33
(11.33)
DNP 4
(53.33)
DNP T11
(13)
Mikko Ilonen
(150.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(70)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP
Hunter Mahan
(142 pts)
T52
(0)
6
(60)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP T47
(2)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Zach Johnson
(137.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T3
(60)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP Win
(44)
Hideki Matsuyama
(129.67 pts)
T23
(27)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Thorbjorn Olesen
(120 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T5
(70)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP DNP
Joost Luiten
(117 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(27)
DNP DNP DNP 6
(40)
DNP T3
(60)
DNP
Rory McIlroy
(111.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Sergio Garcia
(108.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Marc Leishman
(103.33 pts)
T59
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP 5
(46.67)
DNP DNP
Bill Haas
(96.33 pts)
T23
(27)
DNP DNP T34
(16)
DNP T43
(4.67)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(8.67)
Victor Dubuisson
(93.67 pts)
T40
(10)
T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP
Charl Schwartzel
(93.33 pts)
5
(70)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP
Pablo Larrazabal
(90.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T41
(9)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP
Webb Simpson
(88 pts)
T70
(0)
DNP DNP 10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(18)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(30)
Thomas Bjorn
(83.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(37)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP
Scott Stallings
(83 pts)
T45
(5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Branden Grace
(81.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP T52
(0)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP
Chris Kirk
(78 pts)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP 76
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP T16
(11.33)
Louis Oosthuizen
(78 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP
Jason Day
(66.67 pts)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Keegan Bradley
(64 pts)
T20
(30)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Ryan Moore
(63.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 10
(13.33)
Gary Woodland
(60 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T37
(13)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP T38
(8)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(12.33)
Graeme McDowell
(55 pts)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jamie Donaldson
(54.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T20
(30)
DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP
Francesco Molinari
(47 pts)
T40
(10)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Thongchai Jaidee
(47 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T41
(9)
DNP T33
(11.33)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Kevin Streelman
(45 pts)
T35
(15)
DNP DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T3
(30)
Billy Horschel
(44.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T23
(18)
DNP T25
(16.67)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(20)
Matt Kuchar
(43.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP T6
(20)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship

Player Northern Trust AT&T Pebble Joburg Open Phoenix Open Dubai Desert Farmers Insurance Qatar Masters Humana Challenge Abu Dhabi Sony Open Volvo Champions Hyundai T of C
Rickie Fowler
(-15.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T33
(11.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Ian Poulter
(-8 pts)
T59
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T47
(2)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Brandt Snedeker
(-3.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T58
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(13)
Richard Sterne
(-2 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP 28
(14.67)
DNP
Justin Rose
(5 pts)
T45
(5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Luke Donald
(8.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T57
(0)
DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
(10.67 pts)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP T67
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T24
(17.33)
DNP
Nick Watney
(11 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T29
(21)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jonas Blixt
(12.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T34
(16)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(9.67)
Martin Kaymer
(12.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP T57
(0)
DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Ernie Els
(13.67 pts)
T35
(15)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Boo Weekley
(18.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP T29
(14)
DNP 26
(8)
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
(19 pts)
T35
(15)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP
David Lynn
(20.67 pts)
T59
(0)
DNP DNP T48
(2)
DNP T55
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP
Scott Piercy
(21.67 pts)
77
(0)
DNP DNP T15
(35)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Lee Westwood
(22 pts)
T20
(30)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T47
(2)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Henrik Stenson
(29 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T29
(21)
DNP T28
(14.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Matteo Manassero
(29.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP
Bernd Wiesberger
(31.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(45)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Miguel A. Jimenez
(33.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP
Peter Hanson
(35.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T22
(18.67)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Jason Dufner
(37.33 pts)
T65
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T72
(0)
DNP DNP T29
(14)
DNP 5
(23.33)
Jim Furyk
(42 pts)
T23
(27)
T35
(15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Matt Kuchar
(43.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP T6
(20)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

  • Last week we touched on some of the problems with this year’s Match Play Championship, the main fact of Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson not playing.  It’s a very complex issue, for many fans they think it should be easy, these guys should show up for a big event like this.  But all players are independent contractors who make there own decisions on where they will play.  Could the tours force them to play, probably but in this day and age of litigation it’s a battle that nobody wants to fight.
  • So the next question is why are these players not playing.  They won’t give us their personal thoughts, but as we pointed out last week all three have terrible records at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain.  That brings up a very valid thought, everyone loves certain courses and hates others.  It’s traditional for the Northern Trust to be played every year at Riviera or the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am to be played every year at Pebble Beach but for this tournament and it’s format Match Play, it may be a problem playing the same course year in year out.  Just look at our performance chart, it’s easy to see that Dove Mountain is favored by Ian Poulter, Matt Kuchar, Nick Watney, Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan.  So each year the event is played at the same course, it becomes a annuity for certain players and a burden for players like Woods, Scott and Mickelson who haven’t played well on it.  So the answer is easy, if there is one event that has to be moved at least every other year it’s this one.
  • There is going to be a bunch of changes to this event after this year.  Tucson was suppose to be the answer to always having great weather, that didn’t work out and last year was a perfect example with snow wiping out the first round.  Tournament officials also have had a problem selling out tickets for this event.  Possibly it’s because Dove Mountain is way out of Tucson and a bit of a hassle to get to.  No matter, this event won’t be in Tucson next year.  With Accenture pulling it’s sponsorship, the World Golf Federation has to find a new sponsor and then figure out what is the best venue for that new sponsor.  One rumor floating around is that Cadillac, who sponsors a WGC event which is going to be played in two weeks at Doral, favors moving the tournament to Michigan, being close to it’s headquarters in Detroit.  On paper it seems easy, but a lot of logistics have to fall into place and one of them, if that event moves to Michigan it needs to be played at the tail end of May, not March.  So one of the rumors is that the WGC-Cadillac will move to Michigan and will take place in May, the week after the Players Championship.  This spot will open up with the end of the Wells Fargo Championship which home course will host the PGA Championship in 2017.  So with the Cadillac moving that leaves Doral without a golf course.  With all of the money that has been put into course renovations by Doral owner Donald Trump, he would love to have the match play championship.  With all of the changes to Doral, it could be a perfect match play course as many holes will have a lot of risk/reward characteristics like the new 16th hole which will have a lake in front of the driveable par-4.
  • But the biggest rumor is that the Match Play will go to Harding Park in San Francisco.  That’s not the best course in the world for match play, but for a year or two we will have to live with it.  A lot will be on who the sponsor is and where that company would get the most out of the location of the tournament.
  • Let’s dream a bit for a minute or two, we should really think about the kind of courses for the Match Play.  One of the boring aspects of Dove Mountain is there aren’t many risk/reward holes.  Yes they can put the tees up on the short par 4 15th hole, but the only real penalty is for a ball to go out in the desert.  Nothing like having some water, look at how successful the 17th hole at TPC Scottsdale.  A short par 4 that is very driveable with water to the left of the green big enough to catch a wayward drive.  This is the type of hole that is good for the match play.
  • It’s also too bad that the championship can’t go to other countries.  Wouldn’t it be great to see the championship at Kidnappers or Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand for a year or two.  It could also go to Sweden and the Falsterbo Golf Club for a year.  How about Casa De Campo in Dominican Republic or Barnbougle in Tasmania, Koolau in Hawaii is a great course for Match Play along with the Stadium Course in La Quinta.  There is  Pinnacle Point in South Africa and on the European Tour last year their Match Play Championship was held at Thracian Cliffs in Bulgaria, a great course played over the Black Sea with half of the holes on cliffs over the water.  You get the point there are a lot of places to go, most of them wouldn’t be financially feasible but anything is possible.
  • One last thing that we have to talk about is the format.  For the fan it’s great, a bit like in the Mad Max movie beyond the Thunderdoom in which they have a game to the death in which two men enter a stadium with only one man coming out alive.  The same could be said of this tournament, each day a player has to fight for his life in the tournament by beating his opponent.  For some like Tiger or Phil a lot is on the line if they lose.  Tiger may of won three times in 13 starts but he also has gone home three times in the first round.  For those that go home on Wednesday it’s not that bad, they get $46,000 for there days work.  This year former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover has played in ten events and only made $46,850 so you can see, $46,000 for a days work isn’t bad.  But for Tiger it just pays for the cost of his jet taking him back and forth from Florida.

So what about Joe Fan that loves this event?

  • The average fan loves the format in which after every day, the field is cut in half.  But that has brought on some ugly final matches like in 1999 when Jeff Maggert played Andrew Magee or in 2002 when Kevin Sutherland faced off against Scott McCarron.  In some respects the earlier days are better for fans than the final weekend, but that is the weakness of Match Play.  When this tournament first started the dream was to have a Tiger/Phil final or a Tiger/Rory matchup.  About the closets to a dream matchup was probably in 2004 when Tiger Woods beat Davis Love III in the final.
  • So the tournament in some respects hasn’t given us that great weekend of golf.  That is the reason when television came onto the scene in the 50s, match play wasn’t an option and stroke play became the only game in town.
  • One suggestion, maybe tournament officials can have a tournament within a tournament.  On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 56 of the 64 players are losers.  How about letting them play a stroke play event over the weekend, it can be up to the players if they want to stick around or not.  Maybe they can have a million dollar purse with half the money going to the charity of the players choice with the winner getting half a million.  It wouldn’t be official money, but still a tournament within the match play.  TV would probably hate it but for the fans it lets the marquee names be around for the weekend.  Just a thought, but I will bet that next year the tours will tinker around with the format in some way, maybe utilize the round-robin approach that the European Tour uses in a effort to keep players around longer.  I for one hope they don’t lose the flavor of the match play in which two play and only one advances until there is nobody left.

Tournament information:

This will be the 16th World Golf Championship – Accenture Match Play championship.  Ritz-Carlton Golf Club is only the fourth different course to hold this championship. The previous home was the Gallery Golf Club for two years, before that the LaCosta Spa and Resort, which held the 1999, 2000, 2002 through 2006 events. In 2001 the Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia was the venue.

Course information:

  • Golf Club at Dove Mountain
  • Marana, Arizona
  • 7,791 yards     Par 35-36–71
  • Course has a 77.1 rating and slope rating of 147 fron the championship tees. Dove Mountain is a private club, but is open to the public that stays at the Ritz Carlton which is on the grounds.

Dove Mountain was designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened in November of 2008.  Nicklaus built 27 holes with a duality: to serve what the Ritz-Carlton people hope will eventually be a 450-member club and to be a spectator-friendly PGA Tour event.  Of the 27 holes built the event will be played on the Saguaro and Tortolita nines, unfortunely the Wild Burro nine which is Nicklaus favorite was considered to fan-unfriendly.

The course will be a par 72 and measure 7,791 yards.  The yardage is a bit misleading because it won’t play that long since it’s at 3,500 feet in elevation. Large greens with significant undulation, wide fairways and carries over desert washes define each course. The bunkering varies from classic, pot-style obstacles to expansive areas that stretch close to 80 yards along the edges of the fairways. The golf courses feature Bentgrass greens, while the tees, fairways and rough are Bermuda (with perennial rye overseed).

Now the big beef of the course was the undulations of the greens and some of the bunkers, course designer came in after the tournament in 2009 and soften some of the harsh ridges and slopes.  Three holes had some notable changes in bunkering, holes 4, 9 and 17.  With the changes officials  haven’t gotten the harsh feedback that the got that year but on the whole the course isn’t that well excepted on the PGA Tour by the players.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship:

Key stat for the winner:

On the PGA Tour, there are some players that look more at a big check instead of playing to win.  These players are dangerous in match play because they have only one thing to think about, winning.  So in some respects this year’s 19 Accenture rookies (Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Jonas Bilxt, Graham DeLaet, Victor Dubuisson, Harris English, Billy Horschel, Mikko Ilonen, Chris Kirk, Pablo Larrazabal, Marc Leishman, Joost Luiten, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Kevin Stadler, Scott Stallings, Kevin Streelman, Jimmy Walker and Bernd Wiesberger) have just as much of a chance as Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson or Justin Rose.  Just look at what happened to Tiger Woods in 2002 when he got beat in the first round by Peter O’Malley or even in last year when Charles Howell III beat him on Wednesday.  So don’t think that just because Rory McIlroy, who was the number one draw is a better player than his first-round draw Boo Weekley.  The same with Henrik Stenson, on paper his match against Kiradech Aphibarnrat looks like David verses Goliath.  We all know what happened in that story and the same if both McIlroy or Stenson think twice about there opponets. It’s happened before and will happen in years to come.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • Dove Mountain is a risk/reward course.  All the par 5s are reachable in two, but if shots are missed, the penalty will be dear. The course has always favored the long hitters, which was dispelled a bit in 2012 with Luke Donald winning but one fact holds true, the course does favor those that hit lots of greens.
  • Match play is a rare format on the PGA Tour.  Even though it’s the game that is played regularly in golf clubs around the world, its not played that much on the PGA Tour.  The secret to winning in match play is not playing the best, but, more importantly, avoiding doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.  In a lot of matches someone could be striking the ball perfectly and putting well while his opponent could be hitting it all over the lot, missing greens, but chipping in for halves on holes.  Before you know it that match could come down to the final hole and the player that isn’t doing the best could chip in and win a match.  It happens all the time.  Remember a score doesn’t mean anything in match play.
  • A couple of things that can help you pick a winner is to look at those with good match play records.  Past winners of the U.S. Amateur like Ryan Moore and Edoardo Molinari know how to win in this format so they have a bit of an advantage. Also look at how strong Ian Poulter has been in the Ryder Cup, in this event and in the Volvo Match Play in Europe. Those that have won other match play events like Ernie Els and Poulter, those that do well in playoffs or with leads.
  • Also look at players with good single records in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. Players like Luke Donald, Ian Poulter and Jim Furyk.  Also players that have been doing well of late like Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner and Bill Haas should do well this week.
  • But the most difficult place to pick winners is the 32 first-round matches. If you can pick halve of them right you are a super star.  As an example in 2011 18 of the top 32 top seeded won, in 2010 20 of the 32 won, in 2009 19 won the same in 2008,  21 of the 32 won in 2007, while in 2006 19 of the 32 top seeds won. In 2005, 13 of the 32 top seeds won while in 2004, 12 of the 32 top seeds prevailed so you can see that 12 underdogs won last year, 19 in 2005 and 20 in 2004
  • In this format, inexperience and being a long shot is sometimes a plus. As a perfect example, over the years the No. 1 seed has a 37-12 record, thanks in part to Tiger Woods winning three times.  The 19th seed has a 23-114 record while the No. 44 seed has a 17-14 record. What’s more, the 59th seed has a 14-15 record. Yes, the first seed has an advantage, but it doesn’t guarantee a victory.

This week’s posts:

  • Sometime on Monday we will have a look and breakdown of all 32 matches.  We will also have video breakdowns of all the matches.
  • We will also have our “Who should win” column after play on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday so join us everyday this week.

Who to watch for at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship

Best Bets:

Rory McIlroy

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T33 2 T17 T17 T5

Think he is the best player in the world at this moment, yes he hasn’t done what Jimmy Walker has done but I can see him starting to shine in big events and the majors.

Hunter Mahan

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
2 Win T9 T33 T17 T17

Has this charming way of winning at Dove Mountain.

Dustin Johnson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T33 T9 T33 T33 T33

Boy does he have a terrible record in this event getting beat in the first round four of five starts. But that fifth start in 2012 shows he could do well, he is playing great golf right now.

Bubba Watson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T9 T17 4

Coming into this week playing great and has a good record at Dove Mountain. Only question if he can win six matches, after winning on Sunday at L.A. could be tired and mentally spent by the weekend.

Best of the rest:

Graeme McDowell

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T5 T33 T9 T33 T33 T33 T17

Shows in the Ryder Cup how well he is at Match Play, his record should be better in this event.

Sergio Garcia

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T17 T33 4 T33 T17 T17 T9 T33 T33 T9

He is one of these guys who can surprise us this week.

Jason Day

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
3 T17 T9

Got to Sunday last year, he can go all the way this week.

Nick Watney

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T17 T9 T9 T9

Very good results at Dove Mountain, we just have to get him past the third day.

Ian Poulter

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
4 T33 T33 Win T9 T17 T9 T33 4 T5

Another great Match Player, past champion can do well again this week.

Solid contenders

Lee Westwood

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T33 4 T17 T17 T17 T17 T33 T33 T17 T33 T17

Showed some good signs at the Northern Trust that there is life in his game, another good match player.

Matt Kuchar

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
Win T5 3 T17

Not playing well but that doesn’t matter in this format as he does very well at Dove Mountain probably playing the best of all players.

Martin Kaymer

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T9 T9 2 T17 T17 T33

Just like Kuchar not playing well but has a great record at Dove Mountain

Henrik Stenson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T33 T33 T33 T33 3 Win T17

After winning in 2007 and finished 3rd in 2008, has not made it past the first day in four years. Could change that this year.

First-timers that could come through:

Jordan Spieth

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

Hasn’t played in this event, could be the best for getting the job done.

George Coetzee

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T33 T33

Bet you he improves his record and final gets past the first day.

Graham DeLaet

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

He is my dark horse this week, can see him get into the weekend.

Sorry but can’t see him doing well this week:

Jimmy Walker

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

Best player right now will go down on Wednesday, has to be getting tired.

Bill Haas

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T33 T33 T33

For the fourth straight year going home on Wednesday.

Ernie Els

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T33 T17 T17 T17 T5 T33 T33 T33 T33 T17

He will love leaving this course.

Charl Schwartzel

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T33 T17 T17 T9 T17

Match Play is not his cup of tea

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