Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Mulligan: Accenture Match Play Championship - Can Ogilvy Repeat?


Hello again all you PGA Tour fans. The 2010 season is picking up and The Mulligan is back to provide your weekly previews. If you play fantasy golf, if you are an avid PGA Tour nut wanting in depth analysis, or if you are just a casual golf fan looking for a preview of each week’s big tournament, The Mulligan has you covered.

If you read any of my articles last year, you’ll know that I usually give about 3-4 picks for each tournament along with a sleeper pick. I like to go out on a limb sometimes on my sleeper picks and I had some success doing so last year. So if you are looking for an unusual pick that not many experts are picking, you will enjoy my sleeper picks.

Most of the time I base my picks on several factors that I think are good predictors for success each week. First, I like to pick players with a history of success on a particular course. Some players are extremely effective on some courses and this can be a big advantage when the Tour visits a player’s favorite venue. Second, I look for players on hot streaks. Last year I picked many players during their big runs including Steve Stricker, Hunter Mahan and Brian Gay. Third, some courses shape up nicely for a certain type of game (accurate driving, long high driving, precise iron play, etc.). Fourth, if a course is near a player’s home town, I might give that player a little edge based on the added support from fans and possible familiarity with the course. Finally, sometimes a gut feeling is the tie breaker for close calls (especially with the sleepers).

So lets get 2010's predictions started. This week’s tournament is golf’s version of the NCAA Tournament; The Accenture Match Play Championship in Marana, Arizona. We all know that match play is a different animal than stroke play and some players excel at this format. I will break down the top four seeds and give you my pick for each bracket along with a couple of sleeper picks.

Sam Snead Bracket – (1) Jim Furyk, (2) Paul Casey, (3) Kenny Perry, (4) Sean O’Hair
My Pick – (2) Paul Casey. He had a great run in this tournament last year making it to the finals. I think this could be the start of a good year for Casey.

Gary Player Bracket – (1) Lee Westwood, (2) Henrik Stenson, (3) Geoff Ogilvy, (4) Ernie Els
My Pick – (3) Geoff Ogilvy and his 17-2 match play record are my pick to win the whole thing. He just seems to excel at match play, and if you followed The Mulligan last year you know how much I like his game.

Ben Hogan Bracket – (1) Martin Kaymer, (2) Rory McIlroy, (3) Robert Allenby, (4) Sergio Garcia
My Pick – (5) Lucas Glover. His US Open Championship last year is carrying over into this season and his confidence is very high right now. He had a top-10 at Torrey Pines last month and he is my pick in the Hogan Bracket despite his 0-2 match play record.

Bobby Jones Bracket – (1) Steve Stricker, (2) Padraig Harrington, (3) Ian Poulter, (4) Robert Karlsson
My Pick – (9) Mike Sim. This is the best young player in the game in my opinion. He was the Nationwide Tour money winner last year and he has a 2nd place finish on the PGA circuit already this year. Watch out for him this week and the rest of the season. He is legit.

Sleepers –
Zach Johnson
. The always dangerous Johnson drew the 6 seed in the Sam Snead Bracket. He was put out by a hot Phil Mickelson in last years event and he has had a nice break to prepare for the course and the match play format. He could make some noise in this tournament.

Dustin Johnson. He drew the 11 seed but he should be much higher. Johnson is very hot right now coming off the Pro Am. I think he can take the 6 seed Villegas in the Gary Player Bracket and make a tournament run.





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