The Accenture Match Play Championships
Dates: February 22-26, 2012
Course: The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club (Dove Mountain) Marana, AZ
TV: The Golf Channel/NBC
by Evergreen, PGA Golf Picks Handicapper of Predictem.com
Bet your 2012 Accenture Match Play Championship picks using your credit card at the oldest and most solid sportsbook on the web: Intertops.
The PGA Tour hops to Arizona this week for another West Coast Swing event but this stop is drastically different than any other PGA event.The Accenture Match Play Championship is the only regular Tour event that does not use medal play to determine the winner.The field is set with the top-64 ranked players and they are placed in a bracket similar to the NCAA Basketball Tournament.Eighteen hole head to head matches are used to eliminate players each day with the winners improving their prize checks with each winning match.The event could be called the easiest tournament to win in that a player needs only to beat six others on the way to victory but there are so many ups and downs in match play that luck, both good and bad, often plays a large role in determining who comes out on top.
Betting the Accenture Match Play is about knowing who is hot or cold, who has the good match-ups and who likes or does not like match play.Well help you out with breaking down some of the top players chances and well give you our picks to win the event.Check out the online betting sites for lines on all the head to head matches along with a variety of golf prop bets that will change daily.
History tells us not to put all four #1 teams in the Final Four when the NCAA Tournament rolls around and you should be skeptical about the one-seeds in this event as well.One of the top seeds may very well win it, but look for at least two to be gone by Friday and getting knocked off in the first round is not out of the question for any of them.
Luke Donald (16 to 1 odds to win)
The Bobby Jones #1 seed has the toughest draw of any top-seed, drawing Ernie Els in the first round.Even if Donald can knock off the veteran, a second round match might come in the form of Jason Dufner who is playing well in the early season.It wont get easier past that as K.J. Choi and 2012 winners Kyle Stanley and Brandt Snedeker are also in the Jones bracket.Luke is one of the best in the world for a reason and you should see him on the weekend but Ive got him falling in the quarterfinals to Thomas Bjorn.
Rory McIlroy (11 to 1 odds to win)
McIlroy is the odds on favorite at most golf sportsbooks and is what most are calling the softest bracket.The Gary Player top-seed faces George Coetzee in the first round and a win will there will have Ror facing either Kyung-tae Kim or Anders Hansen.McIlroy will be favored heavy on day two but could see trouble on day three against either Sergio Garcia or Keegan Bradley.My bracket has Rory in the quarters as well but falling to the #2 seed Jason Day.
Martin Kaymer (22 to 1 odds to win)
The Ben Hogan top-seed draws Greg Chalmers in round one with most looking at this match as a potential upset.I think Kaymer is getting too little credit and will advance to face either Rickie Fowler or David Toms.The Hogan Bracket is heavy with American talent and I think Kaymers run comes to an end on Friday against birdie-machine Jonathan Byrd.Even if Kaymer makes it to the quarters, his path remains tough with players like Hunter Mahan and Steve Stricker likely awaiting him.
Lee Westwood (16 to 1 odds to win)
The Sam Snead bracket features Westwood as the top-seed and Nicolas Colsaerts will be his round one opponent.Barring a shocker there, Lee gets either Robert Karlsson or Fredrik Jacobson and both Swedes could give him plenty of trouble.Tiger Woods is in the Snead draw and would meet Westwood in the round of sixteen should both advance.The Snead Bracket isnt the hardest top to bottom but I see more names that could potentially win it all there and that should make it tough on Westwood to survive to the finals.
Speaking of Tiger… Woods is also found at 11 to 1 or so at most of the offshore betting sites and actually would be somewhat of a story should he make some noise based on his #5 seed.Lets say he moves past Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano based on talent alone, he will then find a second round match against either Nick Watney or Darren Clarke.Both players could knock Tiger off for a variety of reasons and I think Tiger would actually want Watney even though he is the better seed.Watney and Tiger are very similar right now with both players making a ton of birdies but also making a variety of mistakes that have prevented them from winning.Woods/Watney would be a match-up fit for the finals in other years and would be the equivalent of a heavy weight boxing match.Tiger could have to knock off the #1 seed Westwood and the bottom of the Snead Bracket is solid as well so dont look for Woods to get past the quarters this week.
Our picks to win:
Short Favorite: Steve Stricker (28 to 1 odds to win)
Match play is about putting pressure on your opponent and there is no better way to do that than making him think that you will never make a mistake.Stricker will hit a ton of fairways and greens this week and he stands as one of the best putters on Tour so he should be able to finish off matches on the greens even if his opponent is playing well.I think Stricker rolls past Kevin Na in round one and should be a heavy favorite against either a #7 Louis Oosthuizen or #10 Aaron Baddeley in round two.I have the American doing well in the Hogan Bracket with Stricker knocking off Zach Johnson, Johnathan Byrd and Thomas Bjorn before defeating Jason Day in the 36-hole final.
Middle of the Road: Jason Day (33 to 1 odds to win)
I see the bottom of the Player bracket as soft despite containing Ian Poulter who won this event in 2010.That should give Day a relatively easy road to the quarters where a match with Rory McIlroy likely awaits.That would be a great match between two talents that could be faces of the PGA for years to come.Id take Day in a minor upset there just based on his aggressive play and no-fear attitude.He can overpower the course and is a streaky putter.My bracket has Jason taking down Justin Rose in the semifinals and even though I picked Stricker to win the final, I could easily see Day winning that match or any match should someone else make the final from the other side.
Longshot: Thomas Bjorn (66 to 1 odds to win)
Bjorn is the #6 seed in the Jones Bracket and a lot of his success will hinge on his round one match.He draws a tough competitor in Francesco Molinari who is used to match play formats and would also be a sneaky pick to win or at least get deep into the tournament.I think Bjorn finds a way past the #11 seed and has a date with either Dustin Johnson or Jim Furyk next.Both of those players are solid but neither feels like they have a lot of juice right now and Bjorn could find himself in the round of sixteen.The next two would be the tallest tests with potential matches against Adam Scott or Mark Wilson possible and Thomas would have to take out Luke Donald in the quarters if Donald is on his game.That is exactly how my bracket breaks down with Bjorn beating Donald before losing to Stricker in the semis.I think the Jones bracket is the second weakest by overall talent and that could make for a surprise representative in the final four.
Good Luck with your Accenture picks!