WGC Accenture Picks
Brian Gabrielle from spreadexperts.com has the lowdown on the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship, which runs from Wednesday, February 20th to Sunday, February 24th. He also hands out some free picks and advices to put units on Jonathan Byrd and Arron Oberholser.
There’s a certain amount of fun and excitement with the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship. It’s a little like March Madness except it’s condensed to five days. Another similarity with March Madness that isn’t so much fun for the handicapper: it’s basically a crapshoot.
How else to explain Tiger Woods losing to Nick O’Hern in last year’s tournament? When the great intimidator loses on a tap-in putt to a player as far down the pecking order as O’Hern, you have no chance. Except to recognize that in having no chance you have every bi tas much of a chance as anyone else. What am I talking about? Riding the upsets.
Have you been eyeing a European from afar or an unheralded American you’ve been thinking is a pretty good player who could sneak in a win one day? Pick hime arly this week. I could even see an argument of picking J.B. Holmes to beat Woods at 3-1 in the firstround. I’m staying away from that bet, though, because it’s not enough of a payoff and highly unlikely even in this whacky format.
A word of caution regarding the upset theory: despite upsets along the way, the cream usually rises. In the nine-year history of this tournament, the most wins by seed have been the 1 seed, followed by the 14th,followed by the 4th and 9th together. So pick your sleepers in the early rounds. Low seeds have advanced to the later rounds (the 52, 55 and 62 seeds have won three of the nine tournaments to date) but for the most part they’re gone by the weekend.
Last week: Zach Johnson made a lot of birdies and a lot of bogeys at Riviera. I had him in the head-to-head over Luke Donald, who played as you would expect, and as I would have expected Johnson to play:conservative all the way, nice irons, lots of pars,some birdies sprinkled in and few mistakes. Johnson was just two strokes back of Donald going into Sunday but the mistakes caught up with him and it wasn’t close at the end.
Given the match play format, this week’s betting structure will be a little different than normal. I’m going to take three head-to-head matches in the opening round Wednesday then follow with one head-to-head pick each day thereafter, through the final. It should be an insane, fun, exciting week.
Take Jonathan Byrd over Ernie Els (13-8), 1/6 unit:Els only has a .429 winning percentage in this tournament. But there’s something more to this pick. I see Els as a bit of a tragic figure, born at the wrongtime. We saw the latest example of this in Dubai,where Els plunked his ball in the water and Tiger won.You don’t look at the guy and think: killer instinct.And this tournament is about killer instinct. It’s about putting your opponent away when you have the chance, not giving it to him. Byrd’s never played in this tournament, so we don’t have anything to draw on there. But he’s been playing well the last year or so,including a win at the John Deere. If this upset happens, it would be somewhere between George Mason beating Michigan State and George Mason beating Connecticut in the 2006 NCAA tournament in terms of magnitude.
Take Arron Oberholser over Mike Weir (13-8), 1/6 unit:Oberholser has only one win and three losses at the Accenture but Weir’s not much better with six wins and seven losses. Oberholser’s been off the radar and hasn’t played this year. He had back and hand problems last year but still had a pretty good year, with five top-10s and almost $2 million in earnings. So he’s a real wild card on the health front and the fact that he hasn’t played since last October. Weir’s been playing well enough to win this season and maybe the format will help him but he was playing well last year prior to this tournament and lost in the first round to Paul Casey. Last week Weir missed the cut at the Northern Trust Open.
Take Mark Calcavecchia over Aaron Baddeley (6-5), 1/6unit: Calc’s won four and lost four in Accenture’spast. Baddeley’s won two and lost one. It’s been up and down in ’08 for Calc so far with T10, 68, MC, MCand a T20 in Arizona. Bads has also been inconsistent with T12, MC, T13, MC and a T46 last week in L.A. This match is another toss up---I’m going with theunderdog.
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