Mike Glasscott

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Match Play and Mexico-Way

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Inside the Ropes


World Golf Championships (WGC) Match Play Marana, AZ 

Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain


Par 72 (36-36)

Rough: 3 inches

6,000 square foot (on average) greens

Stimpmeter rolling 11 feet

89 bunkers

One water hazard

Course Architect:  Jack Nicklaus (2008)

Notes:  Bentgrass greens; Bermudagrass with over-seeded perennial rye in the fairways and rough.


FedExCup Points: 550 (winner’s share)

Purse:  $8,500,000

Winner’s Share: $1,400,000

Defending Champion:  Luke Donald defeated Martin Kaymer 3 & 2 to win his first WGC title.

Notes:  Match Play.  There are no “half-points” like the Ryder Cup; all matches will go to extra holes if tied after 18.  There are four, 16-player brackets which begin play WEDNESDAY morning.  Please note the day change for gamers.

Date:  Feb 22-26, 2012



Course Management


The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain has been in the rotation since 2009 for the WGC-Match Play.  Generous fairways are set in the High Sonoran desert, 2,000 to 3,000 feet above sea level, so don’t let the almost 7,800 yards scare you off the short hitters.  Known for its large, undulating greens players with premium short game will have an advantage this week.  Players who can get up and down and make plenty of birdies will be the ones left standing come Sunday.




Since the WGC-Match Play moved to Dove Mountain in 2009, the last three winners have been Geoff Ogilvy (2009), Ian Poulter (2010) and Luke Donald (2011).

Paul Casey, who was runner-up in 2009 and 2010, withdrew this week due to injury.

WGC-Match Play began in 1999.  In the 13 years of this competition, only Tiger Woods (2003, 2004) has defended his championship.

In the 13 years of this competition, only Geoff Ogilvy (2006, 2009) and Tiger Woods have multiple victories.

For the first time ever, no Americans are ranked in the top four in this event.

There have been six full-field tournaments played on Tour in 2012.  All six have had blue passport winners.


So What? So Let’s Dance!

This is the best-of-the-best this week as 64 of the top 66 golfers in the OWGR tee it up at Dove Mountain.  Paul Casey (No. 23), as we mentioned above, is out and Phil Mickelson (No.11) has passed on this event to spend time with his family.  They were replaced in the field by number 65 Ernie Els and by another South African, number 66 George Coetzee

The top four players in the world will be the number one seeds in the four respective brackets. 

The bracket winners will create the semi-finals; the winners and losers of the semi-finals will both playoff to determine first, second, third and fourth.

Remember, the OWGR is not the ONLY way to measure player’s value.  I would look at Jeff Sagarin’s numbers at Golfweek to see if they “match” up.  I have found value in those numbers in the past and will be using them this week.

Also remember that picking match-play is next to impossible.  Your favorite golfer can shoot six-under-par and LOSE!  Your favorite golfer could also shoot three-over par and win!  GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! 

Just like your NCAA bracket, pick some upsets, pick some chalk, but don’t pick your friend’s bracket.  Or something like that.


Everyone washed their hands?  All right, let’s get picking… 


Bobby Jones Bracket:


On Paper…


Luke Donald in his last three appearances here has been WIN, T9 and T9.  He’ll be first to hit all week but with his short game, the defending champion could care less. 

Bo Van Pelt has put together solid back-to-back event top 10s with T8 at both WMPO and NTO.  Van Pelt is an excellent putter and has no problem getting off the tee.


On Second Thought…


Dustin Johnson has played this event three times.  He’s lost in the first round all three times.  I don’t break streaks.  Jim Furyk is awfully steady and will make Johnson work for everything.

Adam Scott has played just one event this year and got off to a good start last week T17 at NTO.  His history at Dove Mountain is not so good.  He’s advanced to the second round once in three years.  Robert Rock held off Tiger Woods in Dubai and will not be a push-over in his opening round match.



Ben Hogan Bracket:


On Paper…


Martin Kaymer has progressed from being knocked out in the second round his first two times here to becoming runner-up last year.  His last two events in Europe have resulted in T9 and T12. 

Matt Kuchar is about as steady as it gets and he showed that last year by defeating Bubba Watson for third.


On Second Thought…


Steve Stricker won his season-opening event at Kapalua and followed that with a T38 at Sony the following week.  Stricker has not played since.  He has lost in the first round two of the last three years.  His best finish was losing in the second round last year.

Aaron Baddeley has been playing excellent golf the last two weeks with fourth alone at AT&T and T11 at NTO last week.  I like guys who make birdies and are excellent putters.  He’s only made one appearance here, a first round defeat in 2009 but that was with the “old” swing.  Don’t let his seed fool you when filling out your bracket!



Gary Player Bracket:


On Paper…


Sergio Garcia is off to a flying start in 2012.  He had a great day Sunday as he tore up Riviera firing 64.  His form plus his ability to fire at flags will make him a tough out.  Garcia was fourth here in 2010.

Jason Day struggled off the tee at Riviera in his first start of 2012 but that won’t be a problem with the generous fairways this week.   Day lost in the final 16 in his only appearance last year.


On Second Thought…


John Senden has made 24 of the last 27 cuts on the PGA Tour dating back to early February 2011.  Unfortunately he runs into Jason Day in round two.

Geoff Ogilvy has won this tournament twice, once on this course.  His match play record is outstanding he was also runner-up in 2007.  Keegan Bradley played great at Riviera but I’m going with experience here.


Sam Snead Bracket:


On Paper…


Bill Haas is coming off his big playoff win last week and is one of the best all-around players on Tour.  I’m riding the hot-hand here.


I have not seen enough poor golf out of Tiger Woods to dismiss him from winning any tournament he plays.  He couldn’t get it done in the desert versus Robert Rock; He couldn’t keep up with Phil two weeks ago at Pebble Beach.  I like his draw here because Watney hasn’t fired yet in 2012 and Westwood has been struggling with the putter.  Plus, since this is a shortened field, I like his chances…


On Second Thought…


Matteo Manassero made it to the final 16 as an 18-year old last year so he won’t be afraid of Webb Simpson.  Simpson has struggled with short putts this season and you have to make four-footers in match play.  I like the upset here.


Fredrik Jacobson ground out six birdies to one bogey on Sunday at the NTO after his return from injury.  The Swede faces fellow Swede Robert Karlsson, who’s never made it out of the second round, in round one.  I think his style could give Westwood some problems as well as he makes tons of birdies and is an excellent putter.


Final Eight:

Donald, Van Pelt, Kuchar, Baddeley, Garcia, Day, Woods, Manassero


Final Four:

Van Pelt, Baddeley, Garcia, Woods

Baddeley def. Woods 2&1 to WIN

Van Pelt def. Garcia 3&2 for third


Inside the Ropes Part II


Mayakoba Golf Classic in Riviera Maya, Mexico


El Camaleon Golf Club

6,987 yards

Par 71 (36-35)

Rough: 1.25 inches

6,000 square foot (on average) greens

Stimpmeter rolling 10.6 feet

35 bunkers

10 water hazards

Course Architect:  Greg Norman (2006)

Notes:  Paspalum grass on fairways and greens. 


FedExCup Points: 250 (winner’s share)

Purse:  $3,700,000

Winner’s Share: $666,000

Defending Champion:  Johnson Wagner defeated Spencer Levin with par on the first playoff hole.

Notes:   This is the full field event opposite the WGC-Match Play.  Gamers, Yahoo! uses the Mayakoba this week.  The course will also play differently from the previous five years on the front nine:

Hole changes:


2012            2007-2011


Hole No.1     Hole No.4

Hole No.2     Hole No.5

Hole No.3     Hole No.6

Hole No.4     Hole No.7

Hole No.5     Hole No.8

Hole No.6     Hole No.9

Hole No.7     Hole No.1

Hole No.8     Hole No.2

Hole No.9     Hole No.3

Date:  Feb 23-26, 2012



Course Management


El Camaleon course has averaged a winning score of just over 17-under par in its five years on Tour.  As you can see, there’s not much rough but there is plenty of water, sand and mangroves.  Players who are accurate into greens and make birdies will contend this week.  Beware of guys who are loose with the driver and the iron play.  According to last year’s champion Johnson Wagner, “You have to drive the ball very straight.  You have to hit quality iron shots into the greens.”  El Camaleon ranked 30 out of 51 courses used last year on the PGA Tour.  This year, the course will be set up differently from years past as the front nine is rearranged, but plenty of birdies will still need to be made and big numbers avoided to contend and win this week. 




Johnson Wagner last year was the youngest winner at 30.

Brian Gay is the only first-time winner in the tournament’s five year history.

The over-under on Margaritas consumed by the pros this week will be 500.

There have been six full-field tournaments played on Tour in 2012.  All six have had blue passport winners.


So What? So Let’s Dance!

The Tour’s only stop in Mexico will challenge the players who are stuck between work and play.  Is this a business trip? Or, is it time to relax AND play golf after the first 6 events of the season?  From the tropical jungles to the beach to the mangroves, players are going to have to keep their wits about them and make birdies. 



The Contenders

As always, in order of finish:


Jarrod Lyle:  His record here is quite remarkable as he’s placed in the top nine the last three years in a row.  Combine his history here with a T4 last week at NTO and there you have it!  Easy game, right?  Just like Kevin Na last week!  Ha!


Johnson WagnerCream of the crop in this field with a WIN and T2 already in 2012.  Defending champion at Mayakoba and so he knows what it takes to win here.  Let’s not over-think this one!


Spencer LevinThis will be seven consecutive events for Levin to start 2012.  There was no way he was missing this one after losing in a playoff last year to Johnson Wagner.  Faded on the weekend at NTO 73-78, but the sunshine and good vibes of Mexico will revive him for this week.  He’s currently 11th in the FedExCup standings after making the cut in all six of his starts.


Brian Gay:  His first win on Tour came on this course in 2008.  He’s made three other cuts as well finishing T5 (2011), T20 (2009) and T41 (2007).  Gay’s iron play has been better this year but his bread-and-butter is hitting fairways and getting the ball in the hole from around and on the greens.   He’s three-for-four in cuts made in 2012 with his best finishes T6 at Sony and T20 at AT&T.


Charles Howell IIII wouldn’t be too concerned with his scores from last week.  That’s the fifth year in a row he hasn’t finished inside the top 50 at NTO after winning in 2007.  His trend in Mexico is improving each season from T38 in 2009 to T20 in 2010 to T13 last season. 


Briny Baird:  I know, he’s never won on Tour before but that can’t help me from taking a look this week.  After missing the cut in his first three events of 2012, he finally hit the board last week at NTO with T34.  He’s always in the money at the Mayakoba finishing T5, T4, T6, T12 and T63 in five career starts. 


Cameron Beckman:  The former champ here in 2010 is starting to warm up as 2012 moves on.  After missing the first two cuts in his first two events, he’s made three straight.  The bad news is his best finish is T33 in those three events.  Beckman’s history in Mexico is excellent.  Including his win, he has four finishes in the top 15 and has made the cut in all five years he’s played.  He horse for course as well.


Rory Sabbatini:  Only three rounds over par of 17 played but missed two cuts in 2012.  This happens when you post 77 and 80 in back-to-back weeks.   Sabbatini played here for the first time last year and finished T5 and was second in birdies made.   A different coastline might help Sabbatini get back on track.


Kevin Stadler:  Back-to-back top 25 finishes in the last two weeks have my eyes on Stadler’s game.  So does his record here which includes all five cuts made and three top 20’s.  He’s worth a look this week.


John Huh:  This rookie has made the cut in all four starts in 2012 and only has three rounds of 16 over par.  He also had two finishes inside the top 12.  Sleep on him at your own risk. 


Harrison Frazar:  2012 began with a bang as he started T5 and T2 on the Hawaii swing.  He followed that up with CUT at Humana before making two in a row at WMPO and NTO last week.  I throw out his history here as he is finally healthy and that was not the case over the last few years.


Left on the Beach:

Might want to leave these few alone this week to get some R and R…


Mike Weir:  He’s only played three rounds since he’s been back from his elbow problems.  I’m still in wait-and-see mode.


Lee Janzen:  Four appearances.  Four missed cuts.


Josh Teater:  He had his string of 14 consecutive events making the cut halted last week in L.A.  He’s missed the cut in both of his career appearances here.  Maybe next week he flies back on the radar.



Accidental Tourists


Guys who might surprise


Chris Stroud:  All or nothing in 2012 as he has a T12 and T13 to go along with three CUT.  He finished fourth alone last year at Mayakoba and has made four of five career cuts.


Michael Thompson:  He has made three of five cuts in 2012 including T6 at Sony and T17 at NTO.  His putter can push him up the leader board and he tears up par-fives.  He’s been cut here twice previously so I’m stretching a bit.


Heath Slocum:  After being CUT at Sony and Humana, Slocum has made two cuts in a row at WMPO and AT&T.  In his two appearances at Mayakoba, he finished T3 in 2009 and T13 in 2010.  Excellent ball striker but has been known to struggle with the putter.  


Chris Riley:  Riley has made the cut in all five editions of this tournament and has landed in the top 25 three of those times.  He has only played twice this year, making one cut at the Sony.  You will need to do some Yoga before making this pick…




Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge:  WGC-Match Play & Mayakoba Golf Classic

Team Name:  Mike Glasscott

Group 1: Bo Van Pelt
Group 2: Aaron Baddeley
Group 3: Sergio Garcia
Group 4: Tiger Woods


Group 1: Spencer Levin
Group 2: Brian Gay
Group 3: Jarrod Lyle
Group 4: Cameron Beckman




Ned Said, “…


Ned Brown is a long-time contributor for Rotoworld Golf. He's had documented success in Yahoo!'s game for years. Even if you're confident in your selections for that game, give his insight a read. 


And remember, I AM NOT NED!!!  He’s smarter AND better looking!



Group A:



Spencer Levin:  Normally, I would fade a player that is about to play in his seventh- straight event on the TOUR, but there are only four players to choose from in Group A.  He looked very good at the Phoenix Open where he finished in third and the next week at Pebble Beach where he tied for ninth.


Rory Sabbatini-- A very tough call between Sabbatini and Charles Howell III. I'm going with Sabbatini because of his tie for fifth place at last year's Mayakoba.





Charles Howell III




Group B:




Robert AllenbyAllenby played well in Australia in the off season, but he has had a a bit of an uneven start on this year's TOUR.  He is one of the higher ranked players in this week's field and just on his class you can go with him this week.


Harrison Frazar He has cooled down from his red hot start to the season (T5 at the TOC and T2 at the Sony); however he is still worth a play given this weak field.


Briny Baird:  Baird made his first cut of the season at the Northern Trust, but he loves this course.  He has top 10s in his last three starts here (T6 '09, T4 '10, T5 '11).


Martin Flores:  You could put any of a half-dozen, first-time players at the Mayakoba in this spot.  I'm using Flores who has had a good start to the season with T8 at the Farmers and T19 at the WMPO.





Michael Thompson, Chris Stroud, Robert Castro, J.J. Killeen, Gary Christian



Group C:




Johnson Wagner:  It's pretty hard to fade the defending champion after his T9 at the TOC, championship at the Sony Open and T2 at the Humana Challenge.


Jarrod Lyle:  It's a very tough choice between Jarrod Lyle and Brian Gay.  I’m going with Lyle because he has top 10s in his last three starts here (T6 in '09, T9 in '10, T5 in '11) and he looked great last week at the NTO where he was T4.





Brian Gay, John Huh, Cameron Beckman, Ben Curtis, Thomas Aiken, Peter Lonard




“And Another Thing”


The analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat with GolfChannel.com's Ryan Ballengee on Tuesday  at 4:30 p.m. ET. They will be breaking down the field at the Northern Trust Open and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter.











Fantasy Golf columnist Mike Glasscott joined Rotoworld in 2012. He can be contacted via email at RotoworldGlass@gmail.com or on Twitter.
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