This week on PGA Tour: WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
It’s the most unusual golf tournament of the year starting Wednesday at Dove Mountain outside Tucson, Arizona, as 64 of the world’s top 66 ranked players will compete in the big-money World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. The only two players ranked in the Top 64 not playing are Americans Brandt Snedeker (minor injury) and Phil Mickelson (pre-planned family vacation). This is the only official Match Play event on the annual Tour schedule.
Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Luke Donald and Louis Oosthuizen, Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 5, respectively, in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), are the No. 1 seeds in their respective brackets. The 32 First Round matches begin Wednesday with Hunter Mahan (No. 25) looking to defend his title.
Tiger, who hasn’t played since winning the Farmers Insurance Open in late January, is the +1100 favorite on WagerWeb.com. He’s a three-time winner of this event, with the last in 2008. Tiger hasn’t reached the third round since then. Woods has only been ousted twice in the first round in 12 appearances at the event. Those upsets came in 2002 at the hands of the Peter O’Malley, the 64th seed in the tournament, who beat Tiger 2 and 1 and Thomas Bjorn in 2011 in 19 holes.
It’s the first PGA Tour appearance for McIlroy since ending his 2012 season with three wins in a six-week stretch, starting with the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. McIlroy also won twice in the FedExCup Playoffs, though he finished second behind Snedeker in the final points tally. McIlroy, who lost to Mahan in last year’s final, is the +1200 second favorite on WagerWeb.com. McIlory becomes the seventh different No. 1 overall seed in the 15-year history of the Match Play Championship, and he will face the Ireland’s Shane Lowry in the first round.
Luke Donald is the third-favorite at +1600 with Charl Schwartzel. Last year as the top seed Donald went out in the first round, but the year before he won it all. He’s 16-7 in the event. His toughest opponent may be Ian Poulter.
Schwartzel has finished in the top-five in all of his last five worldwide starts, including winning the Alfred Dunhill Championship in mid-December. He’s 5-4 at Dove Mountain, yet all four of his losses went at least 18 holes. The toughest match before the semifinals could be Ryan Moore in the third round. His best recent match play result was making it to the quarter-finals in 2011 Volvo World Match Play.
Please note that all the above odds are opening lines, please check our current lines here.
You can check out the bracket here.
And courtesy of the PGA Tour, here’s a quick look at every player in the field, their overall seed and Match Play record.
1. McILROY (10-4) — Reached the finals last year as the second overall seed before falling to Hunter Mahan.
2. WOODS (33-9) — Hasn’t advanced past the second round since winning the 2008 title against Stewart Cink.
3. DONALD (16-7) — 2011 champ entered last year as top overall seed but lost in first round to Ernie Els.
4. OOSTHUIZEN (1-3) — All four of his Match Play matches have gone to at least the 17th hole.
5. JUSTIN ROSE (5-7) — Only one time in seven previous appearances has he reached the quarterfinals (2007).
6. ADAM SCOTT (14-11) — In his first four appearances, his record was 11-4; in his last seven, his record is 3-7.
7. LEE WESTWOOD (11-14) — His semifinal appearance last year was first time in 12 starts he advanced past the second round.
8. BUBBA WATSON (5-3) — Reached the semifinals in his first Match Play appearance in 2011.
9. SCHWARTZEL (5-4) — He’s a tough out; all four of his losses have gone to at least the 18th hole.
10. JASON DUFNER (0-1) — A quick exit last year but went 3-1 in his four Ryder Cup matches at Medinah.
11. IAN POULTER (18-9) — Beware of this Match Play specialist. You saw him at the Ryder Cup, right?
12. SERGIO GARCIA (12-11) — Reached the semifinals in 2010 before losing to Poulter.
13. KEEGAN BRADLEY (1-1) — Showed his match play mettle at Medinah; is he America’s version of Poulter?
14. STEVE STRICKER (12-9) — Making his first TOUR start since the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
15. WEBB SIMPSON (0-1) — As the No. 2 seed in his bracket last year, he lost to Matteo Manassero in Round 1.
16. DUSTIN JOHNSON (2-4) — Probably hoping he doesn’t play Mark Wilson; he’s lost to him last two years.
17. GRAEME McDOWELL (3-6) — Has lost matches to Y.E. Yang in the last two years.
18. PETER HANSON (4-6) — Made an impressive run last year, beating Dufner, Els and Snedeker.
19. NICK WATNEY (6-3) — Has advanced to the third round in each of his first three starts in this event.
20. ERNIE ELS (11-12) — Take out his quarterfinals run in 2009 and Els has a 3-7 record since 2002.
21. MATT KUCHAR (9-3) — Backed up a semifinal appearance in 2011 with a run to the quarterfinals last year.
22. BO VAN PELT (1-2) — Ten top-10 finishes in 2012 but still looking for his first one this year after three starts.
23. HUNTER MAHAN (10-4) — Played just 79 holes to reach finals last year; that ties for third fewest.
24. ZACH JOHNSON (7-8) — Has just two match wins here in his last six starts.
25. JIM FURYK (10-12) — Has never reached the weekend (quarterfinals) in 13 previous starts.
26. MARTIN KAYMER (9-5) — The 2011 finalist (lost to Donald) has won his last four first-round matches.
27. JAMIE DONALDSON (0-0) — Should have some momentum after his European Tour win in Abu Dhabi last month.
28. BILL HAAS (0-2) — Has lost to Bubba Watson, Ryo Ishikawa in his only two starts.
29. BRANDEN GRACE (0-0) — South African making his Match Play debut after stellar 2012 season on European Tour.
30. PAUL LAWRIE (6-5) — Went nine years between appearances before reaching the third round last year.
31. GONZALO FERNANDEZ-CASTANO (0-1) — Put up a tough fight against Tiger Woods in Rd. 1 last year.
32. RICKIE FOWLER (2-2) — Reached the third round in 2011 but lost to David Toms in opening round last year.
33. CARL PETTERSSON (1-3) — Making his first appearance here since 2007 when he lost to K.J. Choi in first round.
34. FRANCESCO MOLINARI (1-3) — Molinari brothers are a combined 2-5 here; Francesco goes alone this year.
35. SCOTT PIERCY (0-0) — A year ago, before he won in Canada, Piercy ranked 152nd in the world.
36. ROBERT GARRIGUS (0-0) — Made his only WGC start last year at the HSBC Champions.
37. NICOLAS COLSAERTS (0-1) — The Belgium Basher won the Volvo World Match Play last year.
38. THORBJORN OLESEN (0-0) — Ranked 146th in the world a year ago but moved up by winning the Sicilian Open.
39. GEORGE COETZEE (0-1) — Lost to Rory McIlroy in the first round last year.
40. RYAN MOORE (3-2) — Made a quarterfinal run last year before losing to Luke Donald.
41. JASON DAY (3-2) — Was the seventh overall seed last year; lost to John Senden in the second round.
42. MATTEO MANASSERO (3-2) — His three victims in this event? Steve Stricker, Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson.
43. JOHN SENDEN (2-2) — Rolled through the first two rounds in 2012 before losing to Sang Moon Bae in Rd. 3.
44. HIROYUKI FUJITA (0-1) — Lost to Robert Karlsson in the first round in 2011.
45. FREDRIK JACOBSON (2-3) — Made the field when Brandt Snedeker withdrew with injury; now he’s 47th in world.
46. DAVID TOMS (24-10) — Only Tiger Woods (33-9) has won more matches in this event.
47. THOMAS BJORN (5-8) — In eight appearances, he’s managed to reach the third round just once.
48. PADRAIG HARRINGTON (11-11) — Three-time major champ returns to Match Play after missing last year’s event.
49. ALEXANDER NOREN (0-1) — Only appearance came in 2010 when he lost to Geoff Ogilvy in the first round.
50. DAVID LYNN (0-0) — Until this year, his lone start in U.S. was 2012 PGA Championship when he finished second.
51. HENRIK STENSON (12-5) — Eleven of his 12 wins came in 2007-08; since then, he’s lost three Rd. 1 matches.
52. MARCUS FRASER (0-0) — First Accenture appearance but has played in five other WGC events.
53. THONGCHAI JAIDEE (3-1) — Strong quarterfinal run in 2010 in his only Accenture appearance.
54. STEPHEN GALLACHER (0-0) — Only WGC came in 2005 when he finished T-58 at Bridgestone Invitational.
55. RICHARD STERNE (0-2) — Making his first start in this event since 2009 when he was ousted by Stewart Cink.
56. RUSSELL HENLEY (0-0) — A year ago, he ranked 457th in the world and started this year ranked 131st.
57. CHRIS WOOD (0-1) — His only WGC start came a year ago when he lost to Lee Westwood in the first round.
58. RAFAEL CABRERA BELLO (0-1) — Lost to Jason Day in 19 holes a year ago.
59. TIM CLARK (3-6) — Rached the third round in 2009 and 2010 but did not play the last two years.
60. K.J. CHOI (6-9) — Best result in nine appearances was reaching the quarterfinals in 2008.
61. RICHIE RAMSAY (0-0) — Became the first Scot since 1989 to win the U.S. Amateur with his win in 2006.
62. MARCEL SIEM (0-0) — Kevin Sutherland won from No. 62 in 2002; can the German pull off the same magic?
63. CHARLES HOWELL III (4-7) — Last time CH3 played Tiger Woods in match play? 1996 U.S. Amateur.
64. SHANE LOWRY (0-0) — Last seed in the field gets to face fellow Irishman McIlroy in first round.