Monday, February 27

How I Picked Hunter Mahan to Win (Last Tuesday)

Hunter Mahan beat Rory McIlroy in the finals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. (Keith Allison)

IT WAS A JOKE, REALLY. Last Tuesday in my post, “Welcome to Bracketville, Population 64,” I explained how I don’t fill out the Bobby Jones, Gary Player, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead brackets (although maybe I will next year).

How do you do that? I wondered. How could you pick the winner?

I quoted Geoff Shackelford, who wrote, “Who knows which player slept poorly? Got yelled at by his wife? Is thinking about firing his agent? Had a slight stomach reaction to the Chipotle he ate at the airport? Or all of the above, plus he secretly hates desert golf more than he lets on and can’t wait to get home so he can vegetate in front of his Playstation for two weeks?”

Then, just to be silly, I ended with this:

“My pick is Hunter Mahan.”

Well, as you probably know, My Pick beat Zach Johnson, Y.E Yang, Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar, Mark Wilson and Rory McIlroy to win the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain outside of Tucson.

I guess I can answer my own question about picking the winner of a 64-player world match play championship. How do you do it? Pure luck.

I had a 1 in 64 chance. Actually, I suppose a better than 1 in 64 chance since I stayed away from the low seeds who were unlikely to survive six rounds of match play pressure against higher-ranked competition. Still, the odds against me picking the winner were as long as a Dustin Johnson drive.

I did give my pick some thought. (Perhaps 5 or 10 minutes of thought.) I looked at the brackets and assessed the path to the final. I picked Mahan because I thought he was good in match play. Hunter also had decent finishes in his first three 2012 events in San Diego (6th), Pebble Beach (15th) and Los Angeles (24th). Maybe he was ready to break out. What I didn’t know was that he put a new PING putter in his bag last week that helped him make a gazillion birdies.

Please don’t ask me who is going to win the Honda Classic. How could I possibly know that?

My pick is … just kidding.

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