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BlogWho will win Saturday’s matches?

WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship

February 19 – 23, 2014

The Golf Club at Dove Mountain

Marana, Ariz.

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,791

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

Let’s pick the winners in Saturday’s 4 matches:

I sometime wonder about the Accenture Match Play Championship.  In a way this championship is a lot like dreaming about going out with the prom queen, getting your wish and hating every moment of the date.  That’s the problem with this championship, it seems impossible to have that dream match-up and after more marquee players lost on Friday we have to look at the prospect of a Louis Oosthuizen against Victor Dubuissen final on Sunday afternoon.

Now it’s not as bad as this, there are a lot of good possibilities for a great final on Sunday like Rickie Fowler against Jordan Spieth.  Would that be great having such a young matchup.  On the other end of the spectrum we can have a couple of oldtimers like Jim Furyk and Ernie Els fighting it out.  I think that your going to see Jason Day against Graeme McDowell, both seem unbeatable.

Talking about McDowell for the third day in a row he went to the last couple of holes a couple down and staged a big comeback.  On Wednesday he was 3 down with three to play, birdied 16, 17 and 18 to square the match, then birdied the first extra hole to beat Gary Woodland.  Then on Thursday he was 2 down after 14 but made birdies at 15 and 17 and then watched his opponent Hideki Matsuyama make bogey at 18 to give McDowell another victory.  On Friday get himself 2 down after 16, hit a poor drive at 17 but he was able to get par while Hunter Mahan made bogey.  Then up against it he birdied 18 to force extra holes and his par on the third extra hole beat Mahan.

McDowell wasn’t the only one that came back from the depths of losing, how about the Sergio Garcia/Rickie Fowler match.  Garcia got off quickly to a two up lead with birdies at 1 and 2 and kept that pace through six holes.  Then a very weird thing happened at 7, he had a six footer for par, while Fowler had a 17 footer for par.  Garcia looked over at Fowler and asked, “good, good?”  Of course Fowler agreed which some thought was very dumb on Garcia’s part until he won the next hole with a birdie.  So after 8 holes he was 3 up and was in the driver seat.  Until Fowler birdied 9 and 10 and when he tacked another birdie at 16 they were all square.  Fowler birdied 18 to complete the turnaround and showed that it doesn’t matter to be down after 15 holes because all that matters is what happens after 18.  As I said in my look at this match yesterday, Garcia is one of those jinx people that you can never predict, it’s really too bad that Garcia just can’t get the job done.

One person that got it done was Jim Furyk who for the first time in 14 tries makes it to the weekend.  He did it in dramatic fashion as he rallied from 3 down after six holes to Harris English the beat him 1 up.

Last but not least the biggest name still left is Ernie Els.  The secret to his game is always the putter and it’s been on target this week. He was able to beat last year’s U.S. Open winner Justin Rose on Thursday and took care of the defending PGA Champion Jason Dufner with a 1 up victory.

 

As for my picks I wasn’t able to go 8 for 8 but I did win 5 of 8. So for the week I am 34 of 56.  That means I have been able to get it right 61% of the time, anything over 50% is good. Couple of things of note on Saturday’s matches, two guys that have never been here before Jordan Spieth and Victor Dubuisson made it to the weekend, a rarity to see that happen to a rookie.  Last year Robert Garrigus got to the quarterfinals before losing to Matt Kuchar.  Oh other than first year winner Jeff Maggert, the only other rookie to win this event was Geoff Ogilvy in 2006.

So it sets up some good matches for Saturday afternoon.  Let’s look at them:

This week’s posts:

  • We will  have our “Who should win” column on Saturday so join us everyday this week.

 

 

Which 4 players left in the field are playing the best:

Player Northern Trust AT&T Pebble Joburg Open Phoenix Open Dubai Desert Classic Farmers Insurance Qatar Masters Humana Challenge Abu Dhabi Sony Open Volvo Champions Hyundai T of C
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)
Victor Dubuisson
(93.67 pts)
T40
(10)
T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP
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

How Player Rankings are Computed

Of the 8 players on Saturday, these four are playing the worst:

Player Northern Trust AT&T Pebble Joburg Open Phoenix Open Dubai Desert Classic 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
Ernie Els
(13.67 pts)
T35
(15)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T37
(8.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jim Furyk
(42 pts)
T23
(27)
T35
(15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Graeme McDowell
(55 pts)
DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

A look at Saturday’s 4 matches, who will win?

Bobby Jones bracket – Tee Times – All Times Local

Time  Match

11:43      53  (#35) Louis Oosthuizen vs (#11) Jason Day

Both are playing great, Oosthuizen’s 5 & 4 victory over Webb Simpson was pure perfection and will mean that Day better be ready.  Day beat George Coetzee 3 & 1, making six birdies.  Not bad since he only made seven birdies in his first two matches.  So both are at a good point and it’s a hard one to judge, just think that Day will be too tough, has shown in past Accenture’s a knack for playing this format.

My pick – Day

Ben Hogan bracket – Tee Times – All Times Local

Time  Match

10:55 AM    49   (#56) Rickie Fowler vs (#23) Jim Furyk

So in all the three previous three matches I picked others which has screwed up by winning percentages.  Coming into this event both of these players weren’t playing very well but they have done great winning all three of their matches.  I figured that at 43 and that he didn’t play the Presidents Cup and had a terrible time in the 2012 Ryder Cup that Furyk’s match play days were over, how wrong I was.  As for Fowler, we have know that he is working with Butch Harmon who always seems to give new pupils instant confidence.  It hadn’t shown so far but maybe it will be this week.

My pick – Fowler

Gary Player bracket – Tee Times – All Times Local

Time  Match

12:07 PM    55   (#34) Ernie Els vs (#13) Jordan Spieth

My mind says that this is an easy choice, Spieth will go to the first tee and look at Els and think, gosh he is as old as my father, I can beat him easily.  But my heart says that Els still has a lot of game and matches left and will find a way of winning.  For his first three matches, Els has only made nine birdies while in his victory against Matt Kuchar, Spieth made nine birdies.  Els is not playing well but he is playing perfect match play by making the putts when he needs them and coming through in clutch situations

My pick – Els

Sam Snead bracket – Tee Times – All Times Local

Time  Match

11:19 AM    51   (#30) Victor Dubuisson vs (#17) Graeme McDowell

What can you say of these two players, both have gotten here in different ways.  For Dubuisson he has never trailed in his three matches while McDowell has never led any of his three matches until the last hole.  The only player who had a more unlikely run to the quarterfinals in the 16-year history of the Accenture Match Play  was Geoff Ogilvy at La Costa in 2006. In his opening four matches, he watched 10 times as his opponent had a putt to win the match. Ogilvy went on to win the tournament and McDowell could do the same.  He always seems to win when he guts things out but he will face a tough customer in Dubuisson.

My pick – McDowell

So there you have it with my picks. Please give us your feedback on who you think will be upset victors.  Always happens and you can expect some upsets to happen on Saturday, that’s what makes it so hard to pick the field.

 

This week’s posts:

  • We will  have our “Who should win” column on Saturday so join us everyday this week.

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