Originally posted on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 2/27/13
Sure, college basketball’s March Madness doesn’t start for another month. But, golf gave everyone a preview of it over the weekend in the Accenture Match Play Championship. The bracket-style tournament begins with a round of 64. Sound familiar? And it ends with a champion being crowned. Here’s the difference: In the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship, the top two seeds, both number-one seeds in their respective brackets, lost. These two were Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods. So, two #16 seeds advanced to the round of 32, which is unheard of in college basketball. In the history of the NCAA tournament, no #16 seed has defeated a number-one seed. In golf, it happened twice in the same year. McIlroy lost to Lowry 1 up and Tiger fell to Charles Howell III 2 & 1. But, the craziness or “madness” wasn’t over yet. The other number-one seeds, Louis Oosthuizen and Luke Donald, lost in the second round. Oosthuizen lost to Garrigus 3 and 2, and Donald didn’t even show up in his match against Piercy which he lost 7 & 6. To recap, two rounds, two days went by and all four number-one seeds were eliminated. This was supposed to be the top four players in the world. They were supposed to meet up in the “Final Four” and give golf fans what they wanted. But instead, the tournament went on without them and the craziness ensued. No number-two seed lasted past the “Sweet 16” and the semifinals consisted of an eleven seed, two number-six seeds, and a three seed. Maybe number-three seed Ian Poulter could make the tournament somewhat normal. But, Hunter Mahan had other plans as he defeated Poulter 4 & 3 in the semifinals, setting up a championship matchup of two number-six seeds and fellow Americans. Matt Kuchar, who didn’t go to the eighteenth hole once leading up to the championship, beat Jason Day 4 & 3 to advance to the finals. In the championship match, Matt Kuchar came out firing, going four-up through eight holes. Hunter Mahan responded by winning holes ten and eleven to cut Kuchar’s lead in half to two-up. Kuchar proceeded to birdie the par-five thirteenth to increase his lead to three-up. But, Mahan didn’t go down without a fight as he won holes fourteen and sixteen to make the match one-up Kuchar with only two holes remaining. “Kuchy” hit his fairway bunker shot on seventeen from 157 yards out to four feet from the hole. Mahan missed the green on his approach and after chipping for par to about fifteen feet from the hole, he conceded the championship to Kuchar. Matt Kuchar finally got his first win in 2013 when he breezed through the Accenture Match Play Championship. Kuchar never had to play the eighteenth hole in any of his six matches. In fact, the only time he played number-seventeen was in the championship match. In a tournament full of surprises and upsets, golf truly showed the definition of parity in sports. No matter how crazy the real March Madness is, nothing can match the unpredictability of golf’s annual bracket-style tournament, the Accenture Match Play Championship. -O’Shea
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