As the WGC-Accenture Match Play enters the fourth day of play and its quarterfinal round, the bracket gives us some clues as to the identity of the final four survivors at the end of Saturday.
Three Americans survived the round of 16 on Friday. While four were dismissed – two by fellow Yanks – 37.5 percent of the remaining field has a chance to extend the season-opening American winning streak to eight.
At most, however, two Americans will reach the semifinal round. Hunter Mahan and Matt Kuchar face off today. At most, one American can make the final, as the Mahan-Kuchar winner potentially faces Mark Wilson in the semifinals.
Lee Westwood has never advanced this far in the WGC-Accenture Match Play. He’s been successful before in match play, however, winning what is now the Volvo World Match Play in 2000, finishing T-3 in 2001 and second in 2004.
If Westwood wins today, he has a good chance to face off against Rory McIlroy for the right to play in the final for a shot at the world No. 1 ranking. If either player takes the title, they will become the top-ranked player and overtake Luke Donald.
McIlroy and Westwood are the two No. 1 seeds to reach the quarterfinal round. That hasn’t happened since 2004, when Tiger Woods and Davis Love III made it to the finals together. That can’t happen this week.
There are as many players in the quarterfinals that came from the bottom half of the 64-player draw as the top half. That ties the mark for this event, matching 2001 – when a number of top players skipped playing in Australia – and the inaugural event in 1999.
Just two of the eight remaining players – Rory McIlroy and Martin Laird – are long-ball hitters. They’re the only players left to average over 300 yards per drive last season on their respective tours.