With March Madness taking a break until Thursday, there is another bracket you should be checking out. The PGA Tour just released the WGC Dell Match Play Bracket to get you thru that opening weekend hangover. Bubba Watson took home the title last year but that didn’t change his feelings about wanting to get rid of the event all together. Weird flex but OK. Talk about a plethora of golf, this is it, with 64 players in the field and 7 rounds of play, this should fill in the gaps that the NCAA Tournament has now left you. I’m not going to get into every match, so lets start with who I think is going to make it to the “Sweet 16”
Group 1: DJ, Hideki, Branden Grace, Chez Reavie
I’ve got to go with the chalk here and take DJ. After a disappointing Sunday performance at the Valspar, look for DJ to bounce back and get thru the ‘Group Stage” with ease. He has won here before so no surprise if he plays well again in the Lonestar state. If I had a gun pointed at me and had to pick someone other than DJ out of this group, I’d have to say Branden Grace, touting a 5-0 record in the President’s Cup.
Group 2: Rose, Woodland, Pepperell, Grillo
Definitely a tough draw here for World #2, Justin Rose. Woodland, Pepperell and Grillo have all been putting together solid years. I’m going with an upset here with my man Eddie Pepperell who has climbed all the way up to 34th in the world rankings and after a great finish to The Players, I think Eddie isn’t going to have a hangover and advance to the Round of 16.
Group 3: Brooks, Alex Noren, Li, Tom Lewis
I’m taking Noren here. He has made it to the Elite 8 in 2017 and the Final 4 in 2018. I like Brooks, but this just screams Noren.
Group 4: McIlroy, Fitzpatrick, Harding, List
As hard as it is for me to say this, but McIlroy is having his best start to a season in recent memory. He likes match play, but that usually comes in the Ryder Cup, so I am going to stray away from the Players champ and go with Matt Fitzpatrick. Fitz got chased down by a red-hot performance from Frankie Molinari at the API. So look for him to seek some vengeance on another top-notch field.
Group 5: JT, Keegan, Matt Wallace, Bjerregaard
No reason to waste words. JT
Group 6: DeChambeau, Leishman, Aphibarnrat, Knox
DeChambeau has played like trash after an incredible end to 2018 and start to 2019. This group is wide open. Rat, Leish and Russell have all been playing well. I’m going to take the Rat. I have gained a new-found appreciation for him as of late and he made it to the Quarters in this event last year.
Group 7: Molinari, Simpson, Olesen, Kodaira
Another group that doesn’t require much discussion, Frankie Mo is getting thru easily. He may not make it past the 15th hole in his first 3 matches.
Group 8: Rahm, Kuchar, Holmes, Kim
Kuchar and Kim both made it thru the group stages last year and I think one of them will make it out this year. Rahm, is a tool and I can’t stand him. He is a fat Sergio and not nearly as good in match play as the elder Spaniard. I think Kuch will be the one that advances to the weekend.
Group 9: Xander, RCB, Hatton, Westwood
This might be the toughest group for me to pick. Lee Westwood must be grinding away on the Euro Tour to keep that OWGR up to get into the event but man I love seeing it. Hatton is a grinder and made it to the Round of 16 last year. Rafa has been super consistent this year and one of my favorite players to watch. He looks 25 but is going on 35. Lastly, Xander is a smooth operator and a force to be reckoned with. However, I’m going with the younger of the Brits, and taking Tyrrell to get out of this group.
Group 10: Casey, Cam Smith, Chucky 3 Sticks, Abe Ancer
You have last weeks winner, a guy that broke thru for the first time in 10 years to win, my favorite player from down under and my DraftKings sweet heart all in the same group. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie.
Group 11: Fleetwood, Oosthuizen, Stanley, An
Louis and Kyle both made it thru the group stage in Austin last year and I believe it will be one of them that makes it out again this year. I’m taking the South African, as we saw this past week, Once the calendar gets closer to the second week in April and that Sleep Number get’s dialed in on his mattress, Mr. Oosthuizen finds his form.
Group 12: J Day, Phil, Henrik, Fuyrk
If this group was about 5 years ago, it would probably be group 2 or 3. I don’t really like any of these guys right now. J Day and Furyk are in the best form but Jason has been fighting a back and Jim is fighting father time. Look for him to win another battle against the clock and make it to the next round.
Group 13: Tiger, Cantlay, Sneds, Wise.
Tiger, Tiger Woods Y’all. Couldn’t set up better for him.
Group 14: Finau, Poulter, Kisner, Mitchell
Very intriguing group here, but the two that stand out the most are Kis and Poulter. Poulter is one of the anointed match play guru’s of he last 15 years and Kis is one of the most consistent. Kis also has the perfect demeanor and game for match play. This showed thru last year as he made it to the Quarterfinals last year and ejected Poulter 7 & 6. I’m going with the man from Aiken, SC to get thru.
Group 15: Watson, Spieth, Horschel, Na
Reigning Champ vs. Alma Mater. With Bubba’s comments about getting rid of the event, I’m going out on a limb and taking the man who played his college golf in burnt orange. The putter got hot in Sawgrass but the other facets of his game let him down. Another guy that seems to get it all together before heading down Magnolia Lane. There will be plenty of coeds from Austin cheering him on this week.
Group 16: P Reed, Garcia, Lowry, Putnam
As much as I hate this, I’m definitely not picking Sergio’s punk ass. Captain America gets thru this round.
DJ vs P Reed- DJ
Pepperell vs Spieth- Pepperell
Noren vs Kisner- Kisner
Tiger vs Fitzmagic- Tiger
JT vs Furyk- JT
Oosthuizen vs Aphibarnrat- Louis
Frankie vs Cam Smith- Frankie Mo
Hatton vs Kuchar- Hatton
Talk about some polarizing match up’s here. DJ and P Reed, Spieth and Pepperell, JT and Furyk and Kuchar vs. Hatton. I’m glued to the TV if these happen but let’s knock the rest of this out. Check out my bracket below to see who I have taking home the title. Take a guess.
I really wanted to put Eddie all the way thru the final but just can’t see him beating Frankie. Kisner tore up Poulter last year and he is due for a break thru performance right now. Maybe the match play format will spring-board him into a final. As much as I love Kisner, I love Tiger more so I’m riding with my guy.
It’s Bracket Season.