Golf Rankings for WGC-Accenture Match Play Champ.
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Golf Rankings for WGC-Accenture Match Play Champ.

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Match Play is an exciting format because risky play is rewarded. It doesn't matter how many strokes a hole is lost by, it only costs as one defeat. Once a player is up by more points than holes remaining to play the match is over. For example, if a player is up three with four holes remaining they win 3 and 4.

If you are filling out a bracket don't get hung up on seeding. The lower seed was the victor in 14 of the 32 opening round match-ups last year, including a pair of number one seeds that went down to 16 seeds. In 2012, double-digit seeded players made it to the final round in three of the four respective brackets.

The Bobby Jones bracket features a large number of upsets the last two years and I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen again as I view this group of players as the weakest in the field.

Henrik Stenson (1) setup for an early exit facing Nick Watney (9) on Day 2.

Stenson won this event back in 2007 and placed third in 2008. However, he's been knocked out in the first round each his last four attempts. Stenson also went winless in the Volvo World Match Play Championship held last May on the European Tour.

Watney has competed in Match Play each of the last four years and has advanced to the third round on three occasions. He's never lost in the first round, clinching victory with four holes to go three straight years.

Thongchai Jaidee (12) spins Webb Simpson (5) Day 1, sneaks past Brandt Snedeker (4) Day 2.

Jaidee is a 44-year-old from Thailand that competes on the European Tour and Asian Tour. He was knocked out in the first round last year but made it to the quarterfinals back in 2010, losing to eventual winner Ian Poulter. Jaidee got revenge in the most recent Volvo World Match Play Championship, topping Poulter on Day 1. He didn't stop winning until losing in the finals to Graeme McDowell.

Simpson made last year's quarterfinals but is coming off his worst outing in recent memory. Snedeker withdrew from last year's event after winning two matchups in both the 2012 Accenture and Volvo Match Play tournaments. However, he's struggled throughout 2014.

Bobby Jones finals: Jason Day (2) over Nick Watney (9)

Day lost to eventual winner Matt Kuchar in Match Play last year but claimed third after topping Ian Poulter in the consolation matchup. He won a single matchup in 2012 and two in 2011.

The Ben Hogan bracket is loaded with a number of stout international players. I see a pair of double-digit seeds winning the first round but a lot of chalk the rest of the way.

Miguel Angel Jimenez (10) shows Bill Haas (7) who's boss

MAJ didn't compete last year but won at least one Match Play round in three of his previous four tournaments, including three victories to make the 2011 quarterfinals. Haas has never won a matchup in three career attempts.

Branden Grace (11) strolls past Jimmy Walker (6)

Grace was a first round loser last year but was mighty fine at the Volvo losing in the final four to eventual winner Graeme McDowell. Walker is on fire right now and sure to be a trendy pick. Be aware this will be his first Tour appearance in Match Play.

Ben Hogan finals: Rory McIlroy (1) over Ian Poulter (3)

McIlroy was the runner-up in 2012 but lost on Day 1 as the top seed in 2013. Poulter won this event in 2010 and the Volvo in 2011. He was a first day loser here in both 2011 and 2012, though, before placing fourth last year. McIlroy happens to be playing at a higher level right now for a slight edge.

The Gary Player bracket contains the most vulnerable number one seed and two of the last three winners, who happen to have a clear path to a fourth round collision.

Scott Piercy (16) takes the bloom off Justin Rose (1) then extinguishes Ernie Els (8)

Piercy won his first two matchups in last year's Match Play debut, highlighted by a second round 7 and 6 beatdown of previous champ Luke Donald. Rose has only advanced twice in his last five attempts. Els is a two-time Match Play winner in Europe from years ago but hasn't made it past the second round since 2009.

Francesco Molinari (11) rides past Thomas Bjorn (6), shocks Jordan Spieth (3)

Molinari has failed to make noise in this event since 2010 but made the quarterfinals in last year's Volvo Match Play event. On Day 1 he toppled Stenson, now the top seed in the Bobby Jones bracket. He draws a favorable matchup in Bjorn, who's made his exit on the first day each of the last two years. Speith made the 2012 NCAA Division I match play semifinals but is playing this particular event for the first time.

Gary Player finals: Matt Kuchar (2) over Luke Donald (5)

Kuchar is the defending champ and a remarkable 15-3 in match play over the last four years. Donald won in 2011 and has claimed at least two matchups five of the last nine years.

The Sam Snead bracket has the toughest Day 2 matchup to call and a past champ with a tricky opening round.

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (9) has Hunter Mahan (8) in his sights

Mahan won in 2012 and was last year's runner-up. He also won a pair of matchups in 2011. He have him advancing a making a deep run, but it won't be easy. GFC won two showdowns last year in both the Accenture and Volvo Match Play tournaments.

The gauntlet doesn't stop there. Mahan would likely face Zach Johnson (1) in the second round and could face Graeme McDowell (4) in the third. GMcD won the 2013 Volvo after finishing second in 2012. Last year he reached the quarterfinals.

Martin Kaymer (12) KO's Hideki Matsuyama (5)

Kaymer was the runner-up in 2011 and won two matchups in 2012 and again last year. Matsuyama is a 21-year-old competing here for the first time.

Peter Hanson (15) handles Dustin Johnson (2), disposes Victor Dubuisson (7) or Kevin Streelman (10)

Hanson won last year's first round matchup and made the 2012 quarterfinals. Johnson has only made it past the first day once in five years. Dubuisson looks a little better than Streelman right now but both are first timers in Match Play and could be in trouble facing a veteran in the second round.

Sam Snead finals: Hunter Mahan (8) over Bubba Watson (3)

Mahan will be tested by fire throughout this event and force a rematch of last year's championship with Kuchar. Watson is 7-4 in Match Play over the last three years, losing the consolation match to place fourth in his debut.

Semifinals: Rory McIlroy (1) over Jason Day (2), Matt Kuchar (2) over Hunter Mahan (8)

McDowell and Poulter are other two big names I wouldn't be surprised to see make it this far. Watney is a major dark horse, especially in the Jones bracket.

Finals: Matt Kuchar (2) over Rory McIlroy (1)

No one has successfully defended their Match Play crown since Tiger Woods in 2003 but the amount of wins Kuchar has put up over the last three years cannot be overlooked. Mahan isn't far off but has perhaps the toughest road of anyone to travel to make the finals of his respective bracket.

 

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