March Madness may still be three weeks away, but for the true sports fan, the world of bracket busting and tournament toiling begins in the final week of February.
Speaking of bust, that would be an accurate assessment of Brent’s team this year, with only a poultry 180 points (if only this was darts) through 6 weeks. However, if history is on his side, he has a chance to make some hay this weekend. Defending champion Ian Poulter – who has an astonishing 18-3 all-time record at the event – is making his debut on Brent’s roster. Adding to the promise of the cellar-dwellar’s lineup is the fact he has the past two winners of the event par-taking (Poulter and Geoff Ogilvy), and last year’s third place winner, in Camillo Villegas.
But enough about the promise of Brent’s team. Let’s get into some serious bracket busting.
PLAYER BRACKET – This looks to be the easiest of the four brackets, and it appears as though Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy should cruise to spots in the elite eight. The only match I see being troubling on route to the quarters could be Kaymer’s second round, which could easily be against Justin Rose. Aside from that, I like the two young Euro’s, with Kaymer defeating Rory on Saturday afternoon, and winning the Gary Player Bracket.
JONES BRACKET – This side of the draw features the world’s #1 player, but I don’t believe Lee Westwood will make it out. Infact, I see him being upset in the second round by up and comer Nick Watney. Infact, I like Watney to come out of the top half of the group. The bottom half should see a Sweet Sixteen Matchup of Steve Stricker and Luke Donald. Both players are strong, but I like Donald winning this one, and then taking out Watney, en route to his first Final Four.
HOGAN BRACKET – The Ben Hogan bracket features Everyone’s favorite Lefty (Mickelson), but I see a third round loss in his future to one of the game’s up and comer’s, Matt Kuchar. Kuchar has arguable the easiest two first round matchups of anyone in the event. However, with defending champ Ian Poulter on the bottom half of the draw, I don’t believe Kuchar will make it past the quarters. Poulter will have tough third round matchup with fellow-Brit Graeme McDowell, but I like the Englishman’s chances, and then beat Kuchar en route to the final four.
SNEAD BRACKET – Could just the sound of the name of the great Sam Snead bring some resurgence to Tiger Woods’ game? Unlikely. In what is by far the strongest of the four brackets, Woods will be in very tough from the second round onward. Infact, I don’t see him getting beyond his second round matchup, which will be against Geoff Oglivy or Paddy Harrington (my pick is Ogilvy). However, the top half of the bracket will end up going to Dustin Johnson. Now I know he has struggled of late, but I think the match play format is just what he needs, knowing he only has to beat one other guy. The bottom half is much more open, with last-year’s runner-up Paul Casey the obvious choice to come out of the bracket. Still, I like Johnson to find take that matchup, and advance to the Final Four.
So to recap, the final four includes Kaymer, Poulter, Donald, and Johnson. As Faith Hill would say, ‘I’ve been waiting all week for Wednesday morning.’