Day 1 WGC-Accenture Match Play predictions

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2011, 9:55 pm
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.
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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”