With the Winter Olympics building to a dramatic climax and college basketball fast approaching the most important month of the season, I thought I’d write about golf.
Sure, the snow and ice are very nice and the NCAA tournament remains one of my favorite three weeks of the year, but I hope to convince you that the World Golf Championship Match Play Championships provide the most exciting golf of the year – and it’s only February.
For five days (and six rounds) the top 64 golfers in the world use match play in a bracket-style tournament that produces the highest-quality of golf you will see all season.
Oh, by the way, Tiger’s not in the field. And neither is Phil.
Stay with me, it’s still pretty good.
Steve Stricker enters the long week in Arizona as the number one overall seed. If the average sports fan were to describe Steve Stricker, the unanimous response would likely be some form of “he looks like my Dad.” True, but can your Dad shoot a 64 to win a golf tournament? My father, Kevin, buckles under the pressure so much that his golfing buddies have nicknamed him “Cave In.” Dad did win the club championship a few years back, so he’s got that going for him. Which is nice.
Geoff Ogilvy lives for this event. The two-time champion has a jaw dropping record (17-2) in this event and goes into Wednesday’s opening round as the co-favorite with Stricker. It wouldn’t surprise anyone to see this Australian around for the weekend matches.
Dustin Johnson, who climbed almost two dozen spots in the World Golf Rankings after his win at Pebble Beach, will zoom into the field of 64 as one of the dangerous longshots. If you are filling out a bracket at home, you can’t ignore the hot golfer and right now Johnson keeps firing at pins and making putts.
For what it’s worth, I like Stewart Cink to win the odd-looking trophy on Sunday afternoon. The most recent Open Champion, Cink remains one of the most consistant golfers in the world over the last decade.
Oh, and he kind of looks like my Dad as well.