Stricker heads Accenture field
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2010 Accenture Match Play Championship | Preview | 16 Feb 2010
The first World Golf Championship of 2010, the Accenture Match Play Championship, is played this week at the Ritz Carlton Golf club at Dove Mountain in Arizona, a Jack Nicklaus designed layout being used for the 4th occasion for this event.
The 64 available players from the world ranking have made it to an event where even a first round loss will earn a player US$40,000. A win will earn the champion US$1,400,000 and the runner up US$850,000.
The tournament will be missing the world number one and three with Woods out for obvious reasons and Mickelson taking the week to take his wife and family on a holiday that has been rescheduled to tie in with wife Amy’s treatment for cancer.
As a result Steve Stricker takes up the mantle of the number one seed, the 2001 champion taking on the 64th ranked player in this field, England’s Ross McGowan.
Lee Westwood takes on fellow Englishman Chris Wood in the Gary Player bracket, Jim Furyk plays Scott Verplank in the Sam Snead bracket and Germany’s Martin Kaymer plays Chad Campbell in the Ben Hogan bracket.
The match play format often suits the no frills player who goes quietly about his business, as has been highlighted by Stewart Cink in recent years. Cink has finished third and runner up in the last two years and while his form to date in 2009 has hardly been electric, this event seems to suit him.
Geoff Ogilvy has been the dominant player in this event in recent years winning in 2006 and 2009 and finishing runner up to Henrik Stenson in 2008. By any measures it is a phenomenal record and he now looks to complete a memorable double by winning the SBS Championship and the Accenture in consecutive seasons.
Ogilvy will play Alexander Noren in round one and interestingly if all goes according to seeding he will play his conqueror in 2006, Henrik Stenson, in round three.
It has been some time since so few Australians have teed it up in this event with only Robert Allenby, Michael Sim and Adam Scott joining Ogilvy.
Allenby will play Sweden’s Peter Hanson, Michael Sim will play takes on another of the game’s most promising talents when he plays Ryo Ishikawa and Adam Scott will tackle Masters Champion Angel Cabrera.