Feb 12

2014 Bracket Challenge Expert Picks – WGC Accenture Match Play Championship

GolfStrat’s Expert Fantasy Golf Picks
“2014 Bracket Challenge”
“World Golf Championships Accenture Match Play”

(PGATour.com, Golf Channel Picks are below)
2013 Finish: 99th Percentile, Yahoo Fantasy Golf

Stay Warm on the Course

Time to Fill Out Your Accenture WGC Match Play Brackets!
(Scroll to bottom for a link to our match by match analysis – posted a little after the brackets are released)

It’s time for the Accenture Match Play Bracket Challenge. There are at least two separate brackets to fill out. One is sponsored by the Golf Channel while the other is associated with Accenture and the PGA Tour. Given the improbable nature of selecting a perfect bracket, we would recommend taking different approaches to your two brackets (or more if you’re going all out). Most of the fantasy games are skipping this week’s Bracket Challenge and will resume the following week at the Honda Classic. Yahoo is off this week. Given we typically focus on Yahoo, we’ll change our pick format and go deep this week with a power ranking to end all power rankings. See below for the full list of players, ranked 1 through 64. Good luck filling out your brackets! Too bad Warren Buffett isn’t giving out a billion dollars for a perfect WGC Match Play bracket.

NOTE: the Match Play starts on Wednesday so keep that in mind as you find time to fill out your brackets! Brackets should be released on Sunday night, although some of the games may not let you enter your picks until Monday (perhaps Golf Channel).

This week, several of the top players will not be at the Match Play Championship – Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Adam Scott. We’ll also see how the weather turns out this week given last year’s incredibly wintry weather. Some of the more recent winners of the Match Play are: Matt Kuchar (2013), Hunter Mahan (2012), Luke Donald (2011), Ian Poulter (2010), Geoff Ogilvy (2009, 2006), Tiger Woods (2008, 2004, 2003), and Henrik Stenson (2007).

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(64) Brant Snedeker Can’t believe people kept starting him despite his poor recent play. They were banking on his 2013 track record at those venues, but golf is a streaky sport where good play tends to stay a while when it arrives. Right now, it’s not here.
(63) Jonas Blixt Hasn’t shined on 2014 PGA Tour.
(62) Kiradech Aphibarnrat Game is not good right now.
(61) Richard Sterne Not playing that well.
(60) Bernd Wiesberger Who? How do we calculate the world rankings again? Just kidding, but will we see a Weekend at Bern-D’s? Probably not.
(59) Nick Watney Has he played in 2014? It’s been hard to find him on the leaderboard.
(58) Matteo Manassero Haven’t seen the promise fulfilled on the world stage (yet).
(57) Scott Piercy Hit and miss. Consistency is missing.
(56) Scott Stallings Amazing he has 3 wins on the PGA Tour, but the dude’s got some talent. He’s just inconsistent from tournament to tournament.
(55) David Lynn Bottom half of the field.
(54) Victor Dubuisson Could win a match.
(53) Ernie Els Not much to say. He’s done alright here but nothing expected this week.
(52) Marc Leishman People overestimated him after a solid Farmers, but he could sneak up on an opponent or two.
(51) Rickie Fowler Lackluster 2014 continues.
(50) Boo Weekley Injury risk makes it hard to take him far into the tournament.
(49) Branden Grace Bottom half of the field – we’d be surprised if he won a few matches.
(48) Martin Kaymer Not scoring well so far this season, but he’s got one of the best Match Play track records.
(47) Pablo Larrazabal Bottom half of the field.
(46) Miguel Jimenez He doesn’t look like much of a golfer, but somehow he gets the job done. We think his game is off and that he won’t advance far.
(45) Gonzalo Fdez-Castano Nothing flashy recently but a solid finish at the Northern Trust.
(44) Luke Donald Very poor play recently but his Match Play track record bolsters his ranking.
(43) Francesco Molinari Great first round at Northern Trust Open and played steady through the weekend. Has the mind to win a few matches.
(42) Ian Poulter Poor recent play counterbalanced by his previous Match Play victory. Game isn’t in gear to make a run.
(41) Lee Westwood Hasn’t shown us much this season, but played well at the Northern Trust Open. He’s changed swing coaches, so maybe his game is on the rise.
(40) Thongchai Jaidee Bottom half of the field. Has won matches at Dove Mountain previously.
(39) Kevin Streelman Has the skills but does he have the consistency?
(38) Jamie Donaldson Quality European Tour player, but can he win more than one match?
(37) Mikko Ilonen Lack of experience on the world stage, but could make a run.
(36) Chris Kirk Inconsistent or consistently not so great recently.
(35) Billy Horschel Has the skills but does he have the consistency?
(34) Joost Luiten Poor first day at Northern Trust Open, but he’s still hanging close to the top 32 in our rankings.
(33) Jason Dufner He, DeLaet, Simpson, and Mahan all had lackluster weekends at the Northern Trust Open. Perhaps their heads weren’t in the game once they realized they had little chance to win.
(32) Peter Hanson Not a good recent track record, but he’s played well here before.
(31) Stephen Gallacher Good European Tour experience, but can he do it in the States?
(30) Thorbjorn Olesen We’ve heard so much but have yet to see him sparkle on American soil.
(29) Kevin Stadler Renewed confidence with first victory. Outdueled Bubba, but can he do it against the world’s best?
(28) Bill Haas Made a nice run at NTO on Friday and Saturday, but ran out of juice on Sunday. His play hasn’t been up to his standards recently, but sometimes he’s been in the mix.
(27) Louis Oosthuizen Recent victory helps his cause, but his +6 at the Northern Trust Open doesn’t inspire much confidence heading into the Match Play.
(26) Gary Woodland Never ceases to surprise, but inconsistent on the fantasy front.
(25) Patrick Reed Not sure he’s ready to make a run here but could win a match or two.
(24) Keegan Bradley Inconsistent, but finished strong at the NTO on Sunday.
(23) Henrik Stenson Has cooled off recently, but he’s still clutch and could surprise us.
(22) Jordan Spieth One word: volatile. He’s hard to trust as he’s caved in a few big moments on the weekends while in contention. He’ll require some luck in his match-ups if he’s going to make it deep into the Match Play.
(21) Thomas Bjorn Making a nice comeback and could contend here.
(20) Webb Simpson Despite what feels like bad fantasy days every now and then, his actual scores haven’t been bad at all. Plus he knows how to pull his game together when things aren’t going his way.
(19) Graham DeLaet After a few T-2nds, he laid an egg at the Northern Trust Open.
(18) Hideki Matsuyama How will he fare in the Match Play environment? He’s done well at the Majors.
(17) Ryan Moore Was playing solidly until Friday at the Northern Trust Open. Disappointing turn of events and it cost our fantasy team greatly.
(16) Jim Furyk Doesn’t seem to have the mojo when it comes to winning but is always a solid pick.
(15) Justin Rose Played well enough at the Northern Trust Open, but is he ready to run the tables at the Match Play? Probably not.
(14) Grame McDowell After a long layoff, came on at Pebble the final day.
(13) Hunter Mahan He’s not the star of the moment now, but he’s won the Match Play before and is tied with Kuchar for most match wins at the Match Play since it’s been at Dove Mountain.
(12) Harris English Hasn’t played a bad round in quite some time. That’s usually helpful in Match Play.
(11) Matt Kuchar His putting is off and he tanked our fantasy team this past week at the NTO. That and Bubba’s crazy weekend set us back a few week’s of solid fantasy improvement. Can we trust him? He’s tied with Mahan for the most wins at the Match Play event over the past 5 years.
(10) Jimmy Walker Hottest player on tour but hasn’t had much Match Play experience recently. Cooled off on Sunday at the NTO, but one round is not a trend.
(9) Dustin Johnson Getting hot. No wait… he is hot.
(8) Jason Day Didn’t play well at Pebble Beach, but he’s still a gamer and does well at the Match Play.
(7) Steve Stricker You can’t argue with what he did in 2013, but we haven’t seen him in forever, so it’s hard to know. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, but feel free to treat him however you like.
(6) George Coetzee Hot on European Tour. Match Play track record is minimal.
(5) Bubba Watson He’s playing well and is a solid pick.
(4) Charl Schwartzel Played poorly his last European start, but played well at the Northern Trust Open.
(3) Sergio Garcia Solid all around recently on European Tour.
(2) Zach Johnson How will he perform after his layoff? Was the hottest golfer until Jimmy Walker recently stole that crown.
(1) Rory McIlroy He has it all. He’s playing great, knows how to win, has played well at the Match Play previously. We may not choose him as our overall winner, but he’s the best candidate. We’ll see how the brackets come out and how tough the road will be for each of our top players.