The final ‘Sam Snead Bracket’ is very much a tale of two halves. In the bottom half, any one of six could emerge as winner. Henrik Stenson’s record in this event is awesome, losing only to Tiger in twelve matches at Dove Mountain. He would warrant a bet at 20/1, were it not for a terrible draw. In the opening round, he must face another tournament specialist in Davis Love, with the dangerous Justin Leonard or Andres Romero awaiting in the last-32. And if the formbook stands up, whoever emerges out of those four will have to play Anthony Kim or KJ Choi just to reach the quarter-finals.
I reckon its worth leaving that lot to carve each other up, and focus instead on the other half of this bracket. For this part includes a series of vulnerable big names. Padraig Harrington is out of form, and has never made the last-4 anyway. Jim Furyk has never made the last-8. Robert Allenby, a feared matchplay opponent over the years, has lost in the first round on both previous visits to Dove Mountain.
They look well worth taking on with a couple of Europeans who will one day be amongst the favourites for this event, MARTIN KAYMER and ROSS FISHER. Both fit the bill in terms of their youth, and their prodigious long-hitting. Kaymer has yet to reproduce his world-class European form on this side of the Atlantic, but his extremely vulnerable first-round opponent Stuart Appleby, (never a fan of this tournament and out of form anyway), offers the chance to build confidence as he goes along.
As regular followers of this column will be painfully aware, Fisher has yet to reach the heights of 2008 this season. However, he played much better in 13th place at Dubai last time, in keeping with previous good form in the desert, and really should like everything about this week’s conditions. Few will hit it further than Ross, which should be a useful psychological advantage.
1pt ew MARTIN KAYMER @ 50/1 (PADDY POWER, SKYBET, TOTE)
1pt ew RORY SABBATINI @ 50/1 (GENERAL, 55/1 SPORTINGBET)
1pt ew IAN POULTER @ 66/1 (GENERAL, 70/1 STAN JAMES)
1pt ew BOO WEEKLEY @ 70/1 (STANJAMES, VCBET)
1pt ew ZACH JOHNSON @ 80/1 (BETFRED, BETINTERNET, CENTREBET)
1pt ew DUSTIN JOHNSON @ 80/1 (GENERAL)
1pt ew HUNTER MAHAN @ 80/1 (BLUESQ, STAN JAMES)
0.5pt ew ROSS FISHER @ 100/1 (GENERAL, 125/1 CENTREBET)
Preview: WGC Accenture Matchplay Championship