The world’s top players are gathered in one place for the first time in 2009 for the World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play Championship beginning Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona.
The top 64 in the Official World Golf Rankings are gathered, but there might as well be only one player there. Tiger Woods makes his triumphant return to the PGA Tour and competitive golf after knee and leg surgery, and the birth of his son Charlie Axel two weeks ago. The last time the golfing public saw Woods, he was hobbling around Torrey Pines on less than half a left knee in winning the U.S. Open over Rocco Mediate in a Monday playoff.
Woods is the tournament’s top seed, and will play Australia’s Brendon Jones Wednesday in the Bobby Jones bracket. Other intriguing matches in that bracket include South Africans Tim Clark and Retief Goosen tangling, and a North American battle between Mike Weir and Hunter Mahan.
Vijay Singh is the top seed in the Ben Hogan bracket and opens Wednesday against Soren Kjeldsen of Denmark. Steve Stricker vs. Dustin Johnson, both playing well to start the year, and Phil Mickelson vs. Angel Cabrera are the matches of note in that bracket.
Sergio Garcia is tops in the Gary Player bracket, and opens against South African Charl Schwartzel. Swedes Robert Karlsson and Peter Hanson face off in that bracket. There’s also a Ryder Cup reprisal of Justin Rose vs. Boo Weekley in that bracket.
Padraig Harrington is the No. 1 seed in the Sam Snead bracket, and will play Pat Perez on Wednesday. Three matches in that bracket feature youth vs. experience on Wednesday: Jim Furyk vs. Anders Hansen, Henrik Stenson vs. Davis Love III and Justin Leonard vs. Andres Romero.
Single matches will be played through Friday. The quarterfinal and semfinal rounds will both be played Saturday, with the 36-hole championship and consolation matches on Sunday.
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