One of my favorite events of the year starts this week -- the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship.
Not only does it boast a field comparable with majors, Match Play at this level brings a Ryder Cup-like emotion to the stage that keeps me on the edge of my couch for 4 solid days.
Every hole feels like a new dual to the death in a Mano-a-Mano battle for supremacy.
Every challenger must bring more than his "game plan" to a match because Old Man Par isn't playing in this tournament - it's only you and your opponent in a test of wills, talent and gamesmanship, where only one contender will live to face another day.
Unlike stroke play, where we hear all the time, "There's still a lot of golf to be played", every shot and every decision could make the difference between being champion and being chopped.
I love it!
The 2013 brackets will be announced tonight and I'll be one of the first to put my predictive powers to the test.
I used to print off the bracket sheet, fill it in and track my results by hand. But this year Golf Channel is making it easier for us. For the first time, Golf Channel is offering us the chance to play a complete bracket game through their Fantasy Challenge series. The challenger who comes out on top with the most points wins a trip for two to the 2014 Accenture Match Play Challenge. Not to shabby eh?
And for those who end up in the top 64 on the Fantasy leaderboard, a set of Golf Channel head covers will make their way to your bag.
So who will you pick? Well, you might want to check out past years' results before jumping to any conclusions about an American taking home the trophy. In the past 5 years, only 3 Americans have made it into the final match.
And although Tiger has won it 3 times in his career, his track record since 2008 has been pretty abysmal -- he hasn't made it past the second round in the last 4 years.
Sadly we'll be missing some of our faves - Brandt Snedeker (T9 in 2012) withdrew due to sore ribs and Phil Mickelson (T17 in 2010) has yet another "conflict with scheduled family obligations".
But that won't take away from the excitement for me. My money's on Justin Rose, Ian Poulter or Luke Donald to take home the grand prize. Won't make my decision until I see who they are matched against in the earlier rounds, but their 2012 Ryder Cup performances, match play records and seasons so far indicate they are going to be sitting pretty going into Sunday.
So why don't you join me and fill in your own bracket on Monday and let me know who you think will reign supreme. I have a "golf goody bag" from the Golf Channel for one lucky winner who I'll draw at random next Sunday from all of you who send me your prediction.
Feel free to leave a comment below OR you can email me with your pick and mailing address (in case you win :)) at golfgal [at] on-mark-it.com
Now, let the battles begin!
Here are my picks (click on the image to see larger view)! Please share yours :)
Congratulations to Elijah who won the draw for the Golf Channel giveaway!