All brackets were not created equal. At the 2013 Accenture Match Play Championship, Rory McIlroy faces an easier path to the semifinals than Tiger Woods.
That is just the nature of this tournament. Some brackets are going to be loaded with more hot players than others.
We'll rank the four brackets below.
No. 4: Bobby Jones Bracket
Seeding: 1. Rory McIlroy, 2. Bubba Watson, 3. Charl Schwartzel, 4. Dustin Johnson, 5. Graeme McDowell, 6. Zach Johnson, 7. Jim Furyk, 8. Rickie Fowler, 9. Carl Pettersson, 10. Ryan Moore, 11. Jason Day, 12. Padraig Harrington, 13. Alexander Noren, 14. Russell Henley, 15. Chris Wood, 16. Shane Lowry
This bracket has some name power, but the majority of these guys have been playing less than their best golf.
McIlroy's only time on the course, he missed the cut in Abu Dabi. Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell and Zach Johnson all missed the cut last week at the Northern Open. In fact, after mssing two straight cuts, Johnson hasn't made the cut in two of four tourneys this year.
Along with Rory, who you can never count out, the favorite has to be Charl Schwartzel. He hasn't finished out of the top three in in his last four tourneys.
No. 3: Ben Hogan Bracket
Seeding: 1. Louis Oosthuizen, 2. Justin Rose, 3. Sergio Garcia, 4. Keegan Bradley, 5. Ernie Els, 6. Matt Kuchar, 7. Bill Haas, 8. Brandon Grave, 9. Robert Garrigus, 10. Nicolas Colsaerts, 11. Hiroyuki Fujita, 12. Fredrik Jacobson, 13. Marcus Fraser, 14. Thongchai Jaidee, 15. K.J. Choi, 16. Richie Ramsay
This bracket is wide open. Louis Oosthuizen, in three tries at this tournament, has not advanced past the second round. This leaves the door open for all the other seeds.
Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia are both excellent in match play and made the quarterfinals here a year ago. Keegan Bradley has already proven his match-play merit.
It is hard to pick any single favorite out of the top four.
Seeds five through seven aren't far behind in the favorite race either. Els still has flashes of brilliance, Kuchar is almost always tough, and Haas has finished in ninth, sixth and third, respectively, his last three times out.
No. 2: Sam Snead Bracket
Seeding: 1. Luke Donald, 2. Adam Scott, 3. Ian Poulter, 4. Steve Stricker, 5. Nick Watney, 6. Bo Van Pelt, 7. Jamie Donaldson, 8. Paul Lawrie, 9. Scott Piercy, 10. Thorbjorn Olsesen, 11. John Senden, 12. David Toms, 13. Henrik Stenson, 14. Stephen Gallacher, 15. Tim Clark, 16. Marcel Siem
The Snead bracket is second by a hair for the battle for first.
This bracket boasts five past winners of this event, and winners of two of the past three with Luke Donald and Ian Poulter—just the sight of Poulter in match play should be enough to give American fans the fear.
However, both Donald and Poulter have played just once this season, and may not be in a big enough groove to make a deep run.
Steve Stricker will be fun to watch, but you have to wonder if his confidence in match play is shattered after his disastrous Ryder Cup.
No. 1: Gary Player Bracket
Seeding: 1. Tiger Woods, 2. Lee Westwood, 3. Jason Dufner, 4. Webb Simpson, 5. Peter Hanson, 6. Hunter Mahan, 7. Martin Kaymer, 8. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, 9. Francesco Molinari, 10. George Coetzee, 11. Matteo Manassero, 12. Thomas Bjorn, 13. David Lynn, 14. Richard Sterne, 15. Raphael Cabrera-Bello, 16. Charles Howell III
The Player bracket doesn't have as many past winners, only Tiger Woods and Hunter Mahan, as the Snead bracket.
However, Tiger won his last time out, and Mahan is the defending champ. Meanwhile Westwood has been solid this year.
Jason Dufner has only played twice, and he has an 18th-place finish and a missed cut to show for it. However, he has been so solid over the last two years, I'm expecting him to bounce back.
In the end, I have this bracket as the toughest because it is easy to make an argument for each of the top seven seeds winning the whole tournament.
While the lowest of those seeds, Martin Kaymer, hasn't been at his best, he does have a runner-up finish in this event.
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