Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Accenture Match Play - Sam Snead Bracket Preview

This bracket may not have the name firepower of the other three, but there are a lot of land mines in here for players to avoid.

Match 27
#1 Padraig Harrington IRE vs. #16 Pat Perez USA

I am not going to pick Perez in the upset, but if these two were to play ten times, I've got to think that Perez wins at least 4 of them.
Pat Perez is a sparkplug of emotion and talent. Harrington is plodding and efficient. This could be really interesting.
Padraig took the reins when Tiger went on medical hiatus, and staked the claim of best player in the world. We'll see what he does in a match play event in which he won't need to play Tiger unless they both reach the finals.
This is going to be very close, and even though I'm going to take the chalk this is the one 16 versus 1 pairing in which I think the upset is possible.

Outcome: Harrington 1 UP

Match 28
#8 Robert Allenby AUS vs. #9 Ross Fisher ENG

There were two R. Fisher's on the Euro Tour website, so I hope I got the right one. :O
In the last eight years, Allenby has never lost a first round match and has a T5 and T9 to go along with two T17 finishes.
Allenby knows match play, like Bo knows baseball and football and Bo Diddly.
Did Bo know Bo Diddly? I forget. Man, that commercial is old. I guess I'm getting there too.

Outcome: Allenby 3 AND 2

Match 19
#4 Jim Furyk USA vs. #13 Anders Hansen DEN

Anders Hansen is good. He already has a win on the Euro tour this year at the Joburg Open.
Jim Furyk is good, but also a bit of an enigma. He will continually make cuts, but you never know when he's going to step up to win.
This is going to be a tough one to call, and an even tougher one to win. Furyk played great in last year's Ryder Cup, and maybe he just needs one event to step up this year.
I'll take Furyk in a squeaker, but I'm prepared for the upset.

Outcome: Furyk 19 Holes

Match 20
#5 Martin Kaymer GER vs. #12 Stuart Appleby AUS

This is going to be a fantastic match. Kaymer is trying to assert himself this year much like McIlroy and Karlsson want to, and Appleby is a birdie machine and match play veteran.
This match will likely be over by the time coverage begins and Tiger tees off, but I'll be anxious to watch highlights.
I'm going to go with experience and the birdie machine in this one, but this is another example of matches in this bracket with firepower and drama potential without the name recognition of the other brackets.

Outcome: Appleby 1UP

Match 11
#2 Henrik Stenson SWE vs. #15 Davis Love III USA

Stenson is another European stalwart, and an incredible player.
DL III has broken my heart way too much over the years, and I'll never pick him in any spot again.
Good luck, Davis. :)

Outcome: Stenson 3 AND 2

Match 12
#7 Justin Leonard USA vs. #10 Andres Romero ARG

At the risk of repeating myself, a GREAT match-up. I haven't been a fan of Justin for a long time, but I will always respect what he does - make huge putts in clutch spots, and quite possibly be the second biggest bulldog in US golf in the last 15 years, behind only Corey Pavin.
Andres Romero is an incredible talent, and unflappable. He's competed in big spots, and has huge game.
This may be the biggest dogfight of all first round matches, and I'll tune in to this after Casey and Badds finish their match.

Outcome: Romero 1 UP

Match 3
#3 Anthony Kim USA vs. #14 Lin Wen-Tang TAI

Another chance to get a taste of the Asian Tour, Wen-Tang is a 4 time tourney winner with 2 other worldwide championships.
This match, though, offers the bigger storyline - will Anthony Kim begin his pursuit as the man to chase Tiger as the most dominant player in the world?
Please excuse my hyperbole. Anthony needs to usurp Phil, Sergio, Vijay and others to even come close, but the excitement and talent he brings to the table is palpable. He is quite simply the most dynamic player we've seen since Sergio Garcia scissor-kicked his way to recognition at Medinah.
Tony has only played on US soil twice this year, with a missed the cut after tying for second in the season opening Mercedes. He has two starts on the European Tour, finishing T25 and T33 there.
On form? Not quite - but when you have the tools that he has, and considering the experience he got in match play at last year's Ryder Cup, you've got to think he's ready to step up.
We'll see if Lin has anything to say about that.

Outcome: Kim 5 AND 4

Match 4
#6 KJ Choi vs. #11 Owen Wilson

Another really nice match versus experience and youth.
Choi is a multiple winner on the PGA Tour with more tools than you can shake a stick at (but don't try shaking his putter - that huge grip may cause you a wrist sprain.) Wilson had a great Ryder Cup last year and is asserting himself on the European Tour.
I'm going to call a close one, with experience winning out yet again.

Outcome: Choi 1UP

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