As the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play gets underway on Thursday, the recent history of the event and the layout of the bracket might suggest what the eight survivors will look like tomorrow.
• A dozen Americans remain in the field. At least three will be gone after the matches today, as six of the dozen Yankees left face each other today (Woods vs. Watney, Watson vs. Kuchar, Snedeker vs. Stanley).
• The only other country to have two players facing each other today is Australia, when Jason Day matches up with John Senden.
• Of the nine players to win a tournament already in 2012, seven of them won yesterday. Bill Haas and Rafael Cabrera-Bello were the only ones to fall on Thursday – both losing big leads late.
• Tiger Woods is two-for-four in his last quartet of tries in the second round at this event. He hasn’t faced an American once in that stretch but has seen South African Tim Clark twice.
• Don’t count on Ernie Els getting to the second round. Both times the No. 1 overall seed has been unseated in Round 1, the No. 64 player in the field falls in the second round. In 2010, Ross McGowan lost to Ryo Ishikawa in the second round. In 2002, Peter O’Maley fell to Nick Price after dropping Tiger Woods.
• If names meant anything in match play, having a six-letter surname is a good indicator. Nine players with six letters in their last name won yesterday. Next best was six players with eight letters and five of the remaining 32 with seven letters.
• For the four winners at Dove Mountain, the second round is a test. Tiger Woods won, 3 and 2, for the biggest win by an eventual champion, back in 2008. The last two years, the eventual winner has taken out his second-round opponent by 2 and 1.
• This tournament is often called a coin flip, particularly in an 18-hole match. On Thursday, 17 higher seeds won 32 matches. Heads or tails? Expect the same today. The higher seed went 9-7 in last year’s Round of 32.