Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Accenture Match Play - Bobby Jones Bracket Preview

So here goes my breakdown of the brackets, match by match, starting with the Bobby Jones bracket.

I haven't been able to link my filled out bracket, so all the predictions I make will be my actual bracket choices.

Typically, match play is dominated by good putting which leads to birdies, followed by ball strikers who put it close enough that they don't need to worry about putting.

This week, the course is overly long and the greens are incredibly undulating.

When making your research this week, go with form. Players who have all aspects of their game working will have the advantage this week.

Here goes, nothing...

Match 29
#1 Tiger Woods USA vs. #16 Brendan Jones AUS

Everyone might say that Brendan Jones is this year's sacrificial lamb, being the unlucky 64th ranked player to face Tiger in his first event back.
He is Australian, though, and Tiger has been ousted twice in this event by Aussies. Does that give Jones hope? Maybe a little, but not much. Observers have stated that Tiger's short game is incredible right now, and his practice rounds show that his game from tee to green is on form.
Maybe not a blow out, but a first round win for Tiger.

Outcome: Tiger Woods, 4 and 3

Match 30
#8 Tim Clark SAF vs. #9 Retief Goosen SAF

Just like in the NCAA tourney, 8/9 matchups are always toss-ups, and this battle of South Africans is no different. Goosen found some form at Pebble Beach a couple of weeks ago thanks to improved putting. Tim Clark has 4 top 25 finishes in the four starts he's made on the PGA Tour this year.
When both players are on form, you can usually expect the better putter to have the advantage. It's been noted that these greens are treacherous this week, not because of the speed but because of the undulations. That can negate a putting advantage.
So we go back to where we start - this is a toss-up, and should be a very closely contested match.

Outcome: Tim Clark, 1 UP

Match 21
#4 Rory McIlroy NIR vs. #13 Louis Oosthuizen SAF

A tale of two youngsters stepping up and trying to take over control of the European tour: McIlroy is second on the European Tour money list so far this year, Oosthuizen is fourth.
Rory already has a win this year at the Dubai Desert Classic, and he is the complete package. Sometimes his ballstriking overshadows his putting, much like the other heralded phenom turned veteran Sergio Garcia.
While Oosthuizen's future is just as bright, I see McIlroy becoming a world beater, and possibly using this stage in the US this week to make it clear.

Outcome: McIlroy, 2 AND 1

Match 22
#5 Mike Weir CAN vs. #12 H. Mahan USA

Usually an upset special in the NCAA tourney, this is a pairing that would seem to follow the same way.
Hunter Mahan, while typically a birdie machine (which usually leads to match play success) normally gets my vote here. Mike Wier is on solid form, though, coming off a tie for third place at the Bob Hope in the desert, and a second place finish at Pebble Beach.
I'll take form in this one, as everything else is almost equal.

Outcome: Mike Weir, 1UP

Match 13
#2 Geoff Ogilvy AUS vs. #15 Kevin Sutherland USA

An upset special if I've ever seen one. Everyone will look past Kevin Sutherland to pick one of the best players in the world. Sutherland is a solid PGA Tour journeyman, though, and a past winner of this event.
I'll look past him, too. Ogilvy is too solid, and I'm too sold on him. Another close one.

Outcome: Ogilvy, 2 AND 1

Match 14
#7 Trevor Immelman SAF vs. #10 Shingo Katayama

While Immelman is a major champion, Shingo is a major competitor, donning his trademark cowbot hat and charging at leaders in the final rounds of majors the last few years.
I haven't picked an upset yet, and I think that this is the first possible upset in this bracket.
Give me the big Kat.

Outcome: Katayama, 2 AND 1

Match 5
#3 Camillo Villegas COL vs. #14 Rod Pampling AUS

This is the first instance that while doing research for material to write on each match, I am actually going to change my pick based on said found research.
Pampling has a missed cut in Dubai, and Villegas has a missed cut at the FBR Open, but Villegas is on form after twelfth and third place finishes on tour this year.
Villegas has more game to offer, but Pampling is solid too.
Tough pick. No idea.

Outcome: Villegas, 3 AND 2

Match 6
#6 Miguel Angel Jimenez SPA vs. #11 R. Sabbatini SAF

Arguably the best match of the bracket. "The Mechanic," steady and firm, against the explosiveness of Sabbatini.
Two very different styles and personalities in a match that should provide the most fireworks in the Jones bracket. Expect a back and forth battle, lead changes galore, and some antics from Rory.

Outcome: Sabbatini, 1UP

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