If you like March Madness, and Professional Golf, The WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships are for you. 64 of the top players in the world tee it up Wednesday morning for the first round at the Dove Mountain Golf Club, and like NCAA Basketball, win and you move on, lose and you’re on an airplane heading for home. Players are seeded in the tournament based on their Official World Golf Rankings(OWGR) with number one playing number 64, number two playing 63, you get the point. If you understood the rules at the Ryder Cup, you’ll get the hang of this.
Players who show up at The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain Golf Course, which is just North of Tucson, Arizona will receive $46,000 minimum even if they lose in the first round. First round winners are guaranteed $96,000, with the tournament winner pocketing $1.5 Million, and one of the nicest trophies on the tour. The champ will also pick up an extra 550 FedEx Cup points for his effort.
The Jack Nicklaus designed layout is 7791 yards, plays to a par of 72, and was opened in 2009. The Ritz-Carlton was awarded The Accenture Match Play Championship before it was officially opened. The golf course plays through the desert mountains with an occasional forced carry over desert washes. The real challenge for Dove Mountain is the fast undulating greens.
Hunter Mahan won this championship in 2012 beating Rory McIlroy in the finals 2 & 1, delaying the young Irishman’s accent to the number one position in the world rankings. Lee Westwood wore the youngster out in the semi-finals, forcing him to make seven birdies in a 10 hole stretch to make the finals. Zach Johnson took Mahan to 19 holes in the semi-finals. Tiger Woods was bounced in the second round.
The current number four player in the OWGR, Brandt Snedeker, and 2013 Phoenix Open winner, Phil Mickelson will not see action this weekend. Snedeker is recovering from bruised ribs, and Mickelson is taking some time off to spend with his family on a vacation. With Snedeker being out, Louis Oosthuizen, the world’s number 5 player has moved up to the number one seed in the Ben Hogan Division.
You can find bracket sheets at all of the major sports reporting websites, with most of them having a bracket game where you can play against other golf fans. You can use golf’s version of March Madness to get some practice filling out brackets for next month’s NCAA Tournament. Good Luck!
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