There’s only one tournament to focus on this week, as the world’s top players head to Arizona for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
To maximise our chances this week, I’m picking players
from each of the four brackets as, if I get this right, we could
be looking at each-way payouts on all four picks.
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I see Woods’ main contenders in the Sam Snead bracket as Lee Westwood (14/1), Webb Simpson (25/1) and Nick Watney (40/1). A straight one-on-one knockout tournament means momentum will be crucial going into each match.
Woods was knocked out in the first round last year, but I’m not going let that put me off backing him to emerge from his bracket this time around. Despite failing to close out a few strokeplay tournaments so far this season, his game has looked very solid.
Rory McIlroy has some experienced matchplay competitors in the Gary Player bracket in Sergio Garcia (16/1) and Ian Poulter (25/1). Fans of the Ryder Cup will know all about these two when it comes to the matchplay format.
Looking at Poulter’s route through the bracket, by the time he faces McIlroy or Garcia his confidence will be sky high. He certainly won’t be daunted by the challenge of taking on either so I’m going to back Poulter at 25/1.
In the Bobby Jones bracket the standout player is, the defending champion and world number one, Luke Donald.
Donald has to be fancied to win again this year owing to his excellent short game. A man who doesn’t make a lot of bogeys in tournaments can’t be ignored in the matchplay format.
His biggest challenge this week will be winning his opening match against Ernie Els. After his disappointing finish in the Northern Trust Open last week it is crucial he gets off to a good start.
The fact he missed the cut in that tournament last year before winning here means I’m not overly concerned about the state of his game. At 14/1, I’m going for Donald to do the business again over Dustin Johnson and Adam Scott, who are both at 33/1.
The Ben Hogan bracket is tough to call but Martin Kaymer certainly won’t be short of backers at 20/1, after finishing runner-up here last year.
However, this bracket contains a considerable amount of talent. Matt Kuchar went close here last year and looks very appealing at a price of 50/1. Bubba Watson also has a bit of form around this track and is at 33/1 after finishing fourth last year.
Two players who will meet in the second round, should they win their first round matches, are Hunter Mahan and Graeme McDowell. Both players are at 50/1 and I believe the winner of this potential 2010 Ryder Cup singles rematch will go on to win the bracket.
WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship betting guide and tips: