Day 1 WGC-Accenture Match Play predictions


MARANA, Ariz. – Once the action starts at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship things move fast, so your on-site scribes Randall Mell and Rex Hoggard offer a quick glance of what to expect on Day 1 at Dove Mountain (click here for the full bracket):

(1) Lee Westwood vs. (16) Henrik Stenson

Randall: Former champ Henrik “Boxer Briefs” Stenson gets boxed out in a brief appearance this year by a highly motivated world No. 1.
(1) Martin Kaymer vs. (16) Seung-yul Noh

Rex: The world-No. 1-in-waiting has little trouble with the Korean, who has a grand total of five lifetime starts on the PGA Tour.
(1) Tiger Woods vs. (16) Thomas Bjorn

Randall: Expectorations, uh, sorry, expectations have changed for Tiger, but he spits out another Match Play opponent anyway.
(1) Phil Mickelson vs. (16) Brendan Jones

Rex: Jones has been here before, going down to Tiger Woods two years ago in Round 1, and this season’s stay in the Arizona desert will be just as brief.
(2) Graeme McDowell vs. (15) Heath Slocum

Randall: I’m betting Heath Slocum’s caddie won’t be ripping off his bib before this one’s over. McDowell wins.
(2) Paul Casey vs. (15) Richard Green

Rex: A bracket bridesmaid the last two years at Dove Mountain, Casey cruises past Green on his way to another finals runs.
(2) Rory McIlroy vs. (15) Jonathan Byrd

Randall: Byrd has reveled playing with his back to the wall, and that’s what it will feel like against the talented young Irishman, whom Byrd sends home early in this upset.
(2) Steve Stricker vs. (15) Matteo Manassero

Rex: This is going to send my Cheese-headed cubicle-mate into a tizzy, but the young Italian stuns Stricker whose Match Play record is pedestrian at best since his 2001 victory.
(3) Luke Donald vs. (14) Charley Hoffman

Randall: The talented artist from England paints a pretty picture in the desert, one Hoffman won’t stop to admire on his way out of town.
(3) Jim Furyk vs. (14) Ryan Palmer

Rex: Close match but Match Play rookie Palmer edges Furyk, who has started his season slowly.
(3) Ernie Els vs. (14) Jeff Overton

Randall: The Hoosier does a little Hickory High weave around the Big Easy in a first-round upset.
(3) Ian Poulter vs. (14) Stewart Cink

Rex: A Ryder Cup redo of sorts, but the colorful defending champion clips Cink.
(4) Matt Kuchar vs. (13) Anders Hansen

Randall: Try as he might, Mr. Hansen can’t wipe that smile off Kuchar’s face with Kuchar continuing to take his game to another level.
(4) Dustin Johnson vs. (13) Mark Wilson

Rex: In a classic clash of divergent styles Wilson, the PGA Tour’s only two-time winner in 2011, wears out Johnson with his fairways-and-greens schtick.
(4) Robert Karlsson vs. (13) Hiroyuki Fujita

Randall: Highest ranked player nobody’s paying attention to (Karlsson) wins another in the shadows.
(4) Retief Goosen vs. (13) K.J. Choi

Rex: Although solid last week at Riviera, Choi’s had little luck at the Match Play and Goosen is trending in the right direction.
(5) Francesco Molinari vs. (12) Ryan Moore

Randall: The Italian teaches Moore the meaning of the word “arividerchi” in dispatching the American in the first round.
(5) Hunter Mahan vs. (12) Sean O’Hair

Rex: The showdown of Sean Foley disciples goes to Mahan, whose superior ballstriking makes him a favorite this week.
(5) Bubba Watson vs. (12) Bill Haas

Randall: Bubba’s strained oblique won’t feel any better after Haas sticks a loss in his ribs.
(5) Louis Oosthuizen vs. (12) Bo Van Pelt

Rex: As long as Van Pelt isn’t asked to spell Oosthuizen he’ll roll to victory over the Match Play rookie.
(6) Alvaro Quiros vs. (11) Y.E. Yang

Randall: Spanish missiles light up the desert sky with Quiros riding a hot streak to another win.
(6) J.B. Holmes vs. (11) Camilo Villegas

Rex: No need for a called-in ruling, Villegas’ week will be short without an unpopular disqualification.
(6) Miguel Jimenez vs. (11) Yuta Ikeda

Randall: Even bulls refuse to fight “The Most Interesting Man in the World,” how’s Ikeda supposed to beat him?
(6) Edoardo Molinari vs. (11) Martin Laird

Rex: Remember that halved Monday singles match with Rickie Fowler at the Ryder Cup? This half of the flying Molinari brothers sails to a Round 1 victory.
(7) Charl Schwartzel vs. (10) Ryo Ishikawa

Randall: The Bashful Prince will know another level of shyness when Schwartzel’s done with him.
(7) Adam Scott vs. (10) Ben Crane

Rex: They say the race goes to the slow and steady, but this bout goes to the relative sprinter Scott.
(7) Kyung-Tae Kim vs. (10) Jason Day

Randall: “No worries, Mr. Kim, that bloke that just beat you is Tall Poppies.” Translation of Aussie slang: Day’s really good.
(7) Robert Allenby vs. (10) Ross Fisher

Rex: Allenby is playing well, but Fisher is a match play assassin and will bury the Aussie with birdies.
(8) Rickie Fowler vs. (9) Peter Hanson

Randall: Bad news for Mr. Hanson, Fowler seemed to really like match-play pressure in his Ryder Cup debut.
(8) Geoff Ogilvy vs. (9) Padraig Harrington

Rex: Ogilvy, Ogilvy, Ogilvy . . . oi, oi, oi. Translation: the former two-time Match Play champion wins in a walk-over.
(8) Zach Johnson vs. (9) Justin Rose

Randall: Sound the bugle, the Zach Attack moves through the desert.
(8) Nick Watney vs. (9) Anthony Kim

Rex: Swing coach says Kim is “fine” after L.A. withdrawal, but Watney will give him some extra time to recover with an early exit.