I could care less about the college basketball March Madness Tournament – men’s or women’s – going on now.
While most of the sports world in North America is consumed by these hoops tournament – and a big reason for this is betting or maybe it’s a fascination with Gonzaga in the men’s version and UConn with the women’s – my interest lies with golf, specifically this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies at the Austin Country Club in Texas.
Look, if I was into college basketball, I’d probably have little interest in a golf event.
But if you are reading this, you are a golf fan, so enough with the reasoning.
Is there anything better than bracket play? To me, it’s way more exciting than stroke play.
Fortunately for the people betting on this week’s tournament or involved in pools, we aren’t limited to one player.
There are 16 four-man pools in the tournament and the players with the best records after their bracket is completed advance to the next record. Ties are resolved by sudden-death playoffs.
Billy Horschel (Titleist Pro V1) won last year’s tournament beating Scottie Scheffler (Titleist Pro V1). I have tremendous confidence that Scheffler will go far this year and maybe even win. He has progressively been the best player on tour.
So, here’s my predictions:
Group 1: Patrick Reed (Srixon Z-Star XV), who loves match play, pulls off an upset, sending Jon Rahm (Callaway Chrome Soft X) packing early. Reed is better in this type of format and I worry about Rahm’s putting.
Group 2: Collin Morikawa (TaylorMade TP5) is the favorite, but he hasn’t been sharp in recent weeks. Jason Kokrak (Titleist Pro V1) whom I picked last week as one of my two players in the PG Golf Pool and didn’t make the cut, could pull off an upset. Sergio Garcia (TaylorMade TP5x) is in this bracket and he loves this format. He’s also played well this year.
Group 3: This is tough because it has Viktor Hovland (Titleist Pro V1) Will Zalatoris (Titleist Pro V1), Cameron Tringale (Titleist Pro V1) and Sepp Straka (Srixon Z-Star Diamond). Hovland should win, but I think he’s playing way too much instead of taking a break to focus on the big tournaments. I keep waiting for Zalatoris to take his game to the next level. My pick is Straka, who is playing well.
Group 4: Patrick Cantlay (Titleist Pro V1x) should win, though I find it incredibly difficult to watch him play because of the amount of time it takes him to set his feet before putting. I think Keith Mitchell (Titleist Pro V1) may pull off an upset or Sunjae Im (Titleist Pro V1x).
Group 5: Scheffler is the favorite, followed by Matt Fitzpatrick (Titleist Pro V1x). I can’t use Fitzpatrick in the PG Golf pool because I’ve already selected him the maximum two times this year. I think he’s in tough anyway because of Scheffler.
Group 6: Justin Thomas (Titleist Pro V1x) is the favorite, but Kevin Kisner (Titleist Pro V1) had a good week last week at the Valspar and loves this tournament. Thomas has not fared well in this event, so I’m taking Kisner.
Group 7: Xander Schauffele (Callaway Chrome Soft X LS) is top seed, but he always lets me down. He was playing well last week in the Valspar, until he double bogeyed the last hole and dropped down in the standings. All that said, he’s still better than my second choice, Tony Finau (Titleist Pro V1).
Group 8: Dustin Johnson (TaylorMade TP5X) is the top-ranked player in this group, but I like Max Homa (Titleist Pro V1) because he’s steadier and I look for him to go far in this tournament.
Group 9: Bryson DeChambeau (Bridgestone Tour B) is the best on paper, but he’s been off for several weeks with an injury. I’m going with Talor Gooch (Titleist Pro V1), who’s been in and out in his last four tournaments.
Group 10: This is, in my opinion, the toughest to choose. It includes Louis Oosthuizen (Titleist Pro V1), Paul Casey (Titleist Pro V1), Corey Conners (Titleist Pro V1) and Alex Noren (Callaway Chrome Soft X). For me it’s a tossup between Casey and Noren, but I’m leaning to Noren.
Group 12: Horschel is my choice over the vastly improving Tom Hoge (Titleist Pro V1).
Group 13: Really tough with Tyrrell Hatton (Titleist Pro V1x) and Daniel Berger (Titleist Pro V1). I’m leaning toward Berger.
Group 14: Joaquin Niemann (Titleist Pro V1) on top over Kevin Na (Titleist Pro V1x), Russell Henley (Titleist Pro V1x) and Maverick McNealy (Callaway Chrome Soft). Niemann is the best on form, but Henley is quietly making some noise.
Group 15: This one includes Abraham Ancer (Titleist Pro V1x), Webb Simpson (Titleist Pro V1), Brian Harman (Titleist Pro V1) and Bubba Watson (Titleist Pro V1x). Simpson is making his third start following neck surgery and might be poised for an upset.
Group 16: Brooks Koepka (Srixon Z-Star Diamond), Shane Lowry (Srixon Z-Star XV), Harold Varner III (Titleist Pro V1) and Erik van Rooyen (Titleist Pro V1). Koepka played well last week in the final round of the Valspar for a top-10 finish after failing to make the cut in the Players. He’s been playing a lot lately, way more than he usually does, so it’s hit-and-miss in terms of will he care? I kind of like Lowry, who has played well this year.
My overall choice to win is Scheffler. I like Niemann to be a major player as well.