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      Power Rankings: Accenture Match Play

    • Jordan Spieth is playing Accenture Match Play for the first time this week. (Dunn/Getty Images) Jordan Spieth is playing Accenture Match Play for the first time this week. (Dunn/Getty Images)

    Warren Buffet and Dan Gilbert are prepared to pony up $1 billion for a perfect bracket for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Imagine the prize if they latched onto the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship where the potential outcomes are doubled (due to the consolation match). There are over 18.4 quintillion combinations with 64 matches at The Ritz Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain this week. Toss in the dynamic that truly any seed can escape the first round and this tournament isn't so much about seeding as it is survive and advance.

    Jack Nicklaus designed 27 holes on the property and was granted this tournament before the grand opening. The 18 holes in play are, in fact, a result of yet another combination. The par-36 Saguaro Course serves as holes 1-9 while par-36 Tortolita hosts Nos. 10-18. Aggregate yardage is 7,791. It won't play that long due to a varied selection of tees and an altitude of 2,300-3,000 feet. Greens are a roomy 6,000 square feet, but undulations enhance the premium of distance control and accuracy on approach. Nicklaus allows for some imprecision off the tee, but these fairways are not necessarily flat, so this is a true test on how to play golf.

    Unlike last year's snowstorm, seasonable conditions are on tap this week. Mostly clear skies with temperatures camping right around 80 degrees are expected throughout. Winds could be moderate at times.

    NOTE: The overall order below is a logical determination based on the top four. For example, because Dustin Johnson is slotted fourth (or lowest among the semifinalists), Zach Johnson is ranked fifth (or highest among the quarterfinalists) because the Johnsons would meet in the quarterfinals. Similarly, No. 8 Ian Poulter (lowest among the quarterfinalists) would meet No. 9 Sergio Garcia (highest of the eight that wouldn't advance from the third round to the quarterfinals) in the third round.

    Rankings: Accenture Match Play Championship

    Rank

    Player

    Comment

    1 Rory McIlroy Rory McIlroy

    Hogan Bracket. One-time runner-up (2012). On a tear since November. It's that kind of form that's needed to emerge from the toughest draw.

    Hogan Bracket. One-time runner-up (2012). On a tear since November. It's that kind of form that's needed to emerge from the toughest draw.

    2 Jordan Spieth Jordan Spieth

    Debut. Player Bracket. Fearlessness on the greens is his ticket. Ranks 28th in GIR elevates chances. Easiest draw of first two rounds.

    Debut. Player Bracket. Fearlessness on the greens is his ticket. Ranks 28th in GIR elevates chances. Easiest draw of first two rounds.

    3 Jason Day Jason Day

    Jones Bracket. Finished third last year. Course suits his long game and knack around the greens. Co-runner-up recently at the Farmers.

    Jones Bracket. Finished third last year. Course suits his long game and knack around the greens. Co-runner-up recently at the Farmers.

    4 Dustin Johnson Dustin Johnson

    Snead Bracket. A surprising semifinalist based on record; four of five times a first-round knockout. Win, two seconds & T6 this season.

    Snead Bracket. A surprising semifinalist based on record; four of five times a first-round knockout. Win, two seconds & T6 this season.

    5 Zach Johnson Zach Johnson

    Snead Bracket. Raking for months. Rested after four weeks off. Six of nine times he's been a first-round casualty. Top seed can't hurt.

    Snead Bracket. Raking for months. Rested after four weeks off. Six of nine times he's been a first-round casualty. Top seed can't hurt.

    6 Webb Simpson Webb Simpson

    Jones Bracket. Prior to a T70 at Riviera, posted seven consecutive top 25s on the PGA TOUR. Reached last year's quarterfinals.

    Jones Bracket. Prior to a T70 at Riviera, posted seven consecutive top 25s on the PGA TOUR. Reached last year's quarterfinals.

    7 Stephen Gallacher Stephen Gallacher

    Player Bracket. Upset special. Two weeks off since defending his title at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

    Player Bracket. Upset special. Two weeks off since defending his title at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

    8 Ian Poulter Ian Poulter

    Hogan Bracket. Built for this, but luck of the draw sets up a tough road. Overall in this event: 22-11 with a win (2010) and two fourths.

    Hogan Bracket. Built for this, but luck of the draw sets up a tough road. Overall in this event: 22-11 with a win (2010) and two fourths.

    9 Sergio Garcia Sergio Garcia

    Hogan Bracket. Giving Ian Poulter's intangible the edge in this third-round match, but the Spaniard has two wins in his last three starts.

    Hogan Bracket. Giving Ian Poulter's intangible the edge in this third-round match, but the Spaniard has two wins in his last three starts.

    10 Luke Donald Luke Donald

    Player Bracket. Welcoming draw helps despite a win here in 2011. Also won in Japan three months ago, but two forgettable results in January.

    Player Bracket. Welcoming draw helps despite a win here in 2011. Also won in Japan three months ago, but two forgettable results in January.

    11 Henrik Stenson Henrik Stenson

    Jones Bracket. Ignore his last four early exits as he rode a career roller coaster. Won this in 2007 but at The Gallery at Dove Mountain.

    Jones Bracket. Ignore his last four early exits as he rode a career roller coaster. Won this in 2007 but at The Gallery at Dove Mountain.

    12 Hideki Matsuyama Hideki Matsuyama

    Debut. Snead Bracket. No easy pickings, but he's so efficient. Sixth in proximity, 27th in strokes gained-putting. Also long off the tee.

    Debut. Snead Bracket. No easy pickings, but he's so efficient. Sixth in proximity, 27th in strokes gained-putting. Also long off the tee.

    13 Keegan Bradley Keegan Bradley

    Snead Bracket. Poised for clash with Bubba Watson in second round. Games are similar, but Bradley is the better putter, just not by much.

    Snead Bracket. Poised for clash with Bubba Watson in second round. Games are similar, but Bradley is the better putter, just not by much.

    14 Graham DeLaet Graham DeLaet

    Debut. Jones Bracket. In only notable match-play event, beat Jordan Spieth in singles at the 2013 Presidents Cup.

    Debut. Jones Bracket. In only notable match-play event, beat Jordan Spieth in singles at the 2013 Presidents Cup.

    15 Matt Kuchar Matt Kuchar

    Player Bracket. The defending champ could encounter a buzz saw in Jordan Spieth, who would ignore Kuchar's 15-3 record in four appearances.

    Player Bracket. The defending champ could encounter a buzz saw in Jordan Spieth, who would ignore Kuchar's 15-3 record in four appearances.

    16 Charl Schwartzel Charl Schwartzel

    Hogan Bracket. Would seem to deserve better than a 5-5 record on cachet alone, but has reached the second round just once.

    Hogan Bracket. Would seem to deserve better than a 5-5 record on cachet alone, but has reached the second round just once.

    17 Jim Furyk Jim Furyk

    Hogan Bracket. Advanced to the second round just once (2009) in the last nine editions.

    Hogan Bracket. Advanced to the second round just once (2009) in the last nine editions.

    18 Ryan Moore Ryan Moore

    Player Bracket. All or nothing lately. Gets the benefit of the doubt over the first-timer, Joost Luiten, before getting axed by Matt Kuchar.

    Player Bracket. All or nothing lately. Gets the benefit of the doubt over the first-timer, Joost Luiten, before getting axed by Matt Kuchar.

    19 Steve Stricker Steve Stricker

    Jones Bracket. First start of the season. Buoyed by peace of mind knowing that his brother received a liver transplant.

    Jones Bracket. First start of the season. Buoyed by peace of mind knowing that his brother received a liver transplant.

    20 Bubba Watson Bubba Watson

    Snead Bracket. He's 3-0 in the first round and finished fourth in 2011. Coming off win at Riviera. T2 at WMPO two weeks prior.

    Snead Bracket. He's 3-0 in the first round and finished fourth in 2011. Coming off win at Riviera. T2 at WMPO two weeks prior.

    21 Gary Woodland Gary Woodland

    Snead Bracket. Already an underrated putter already, but now getting Greg Norman's attention. Six top 20s in last 12 starts.

    Snead Bracket. Already an underrated putter already, but now getting Greg Norman's attention. Six top 20s in last 12 starts.

    22 Louis Oosthuizen Louis Oosthuizen

    Jones Bracket. Hasn't reached third round in four tries. Won in homeland in January, but missed cut at Riviera.

    Jones Bracket. Hasn't reached third round in four tries. Won in homeland in January, but missed cut at Riviera.

    23 Jason Dufner Jason Dufner

    Player Bracket. He's 0-2, but he gets the pick-'em vote over first-timer Scott Stallings in the first round.

    Player Bracket. He's 0-2, but he gets the pick-'em vote over first-timer Scott Stallings in the first round.

    24 Miguel Jimenez Miguel Jimenez

    Hogan Bracket. As a 47-year-old, went 3-1. As a 48-year-old, went 2-1. Back at 50, he upsets Bill Haas in the first round.

    Hogan Bracket. As a 47-year-old, went 3-1. As a 48-year-old, went 2-1. Back at 50, he upsets Bill Haas in the first round.

    25 Jimmy Walker Jimmy Walker

    Debut. Hogan Bracket. Tough quadrant even for a guy with three wins on the season. Could draw Ian Poulter in the second round.

    Debut. Hogan Bracket. Tough quadrant even for a guy with three wins on the season. Could draw Ian Poulter in the second round.

    26 Justin Rose Justin Rose

    Player Bracket. Aside from a 3-1 record in 2007, he's been bounced in the first or second round in his other seven appearances.

    Player Bracket. Aside from a 3-1 record in 2007, he's been bounced in the first or second round in his other seven appearances.

    27 Brandt Snedeker Brandt Snedeker

    Jones Bracket. At 172nd on TOUR in proximity to the hole, he's not giving his putter a chance. As a result, he's T157 in adjusted scoring.

    Jones Bracket. At 172nd on TOUR in proximity to the hole, he's not giving his putter a chance. As a result, he's T157 in adjusted scoring.

    28 Hunter Mahan Hunter Mahan

    Snead Bracket. Came within one match of defending 2012 title last year. Potentially epic showdown versus Zach Johnson in the second round.

    Snead Bracket. Came within one match of defending 2012 title last year. Potentially epic showdown versus Zach Johnson in the second round.

    29 Victor Dubuisson Victor Dubuisson

    Debut. Snead Bracket. Overall form is better than fellow first-timer and first-round opponent, Kevin Streelman.

    Debut. Snead Bracket. Overall form is better than fellow first-timer and first-round opponent, Kevin Streelman.

    30 Billy Horschel Billy Horschel

    Debut. Jones Bracket. If emotion can translate into momentum, he'll be a dark horse. Three top 25s in January.

    Debut. Jones Bracket. If emotion can translate into momentum, he'll be a dark horse. Three top 25s in January.

    31 Francesco Molinari Francesco Molinari

    Player Bracket. Really steady upon arrival every, but just 1-4 in this event. Opens against Thomas Bjorn, who shares a poor record.

    Player Bracket. Really steady upon arrival every, but just 1-4 in this event. Opens against Thomas Bjorn, who shares a poor record.

    32 Harris English Harris English

    Debut. Hogan Bracket. In terrific form. Unlucky to land in this quadrant. Possible match against Rory McIlroy could headline second round.

    Debut. Hogan Bracket. In terrific form. Unlucky to land in this quadrant. Possible match against Rory McIlroy could headline second round.

    33 Lee Westwood Lee Westwood

    Hogan Bracket. In 12 of his 13 appearances, he hasn't seen the third round. The exception: Fourth place in 2012.

    Hogan Bracket. In 12 of his 13 appearances, he hasn't seen the third round. The exception: Fourth place in 2012.

    34 Thomas Bjorn Thomas Bjorn

    Player Bracket. Outstanding play on either side of the holidays, but he's 5-9 at this event. Advanced to the third round once (2000).

    Player Bracket. Outstanding play on either side of the holidays, but he's 5-9 at this event. Advanced to the third round once (2000).

    35 Jamie Donaldson Jamie Donaldson

    Jones Bracket. In his foray in the planet's biggest events, posted an underwhelming slate in 2013. No top 30s in majors and WGCs.

    Jones Bracket. In his foray in the planet's biggest events, posted an underwhelming slate in 2013. No top 30s in majors and WGCs.

    36 Kevin Streelman Kevin Streelman

    Debut. Snead Bracket. Dangerous unknown in this format, but opens against an international hitting on most cylinders in Victor Dubuisson.

    Debut. Snead Bracket. Dangerous unknown in this format, but opens against an international hitting on most cylinders in Victor Dubuisson.

    37 Gonzalo Fdez-Castano Gonzalo Fdez-Castano

    Snead Bracket. Went 2-1 last year, but is grinding through the learning curve as a first-time member of the PGA TOUR this season.

    Snead Bracket. Went 2-1 last year, but is grinding through the learning curve as a first-time member of the PGA TOUR this season.

    38 David Lynn David Lynn

    Jones Bracket. Squares off against one of the few better putters in the world, Brandt Snedeker, who gets a slim benefit of the doubt.

    Jones Bracket. Squares off against one of the few better putters in the world, Brandt Snedeker, who gets a slim benefit of the doubt.

    39 Scott Piercy Scott Piercy

    Player Bracket. Inconsistency amid a undisclosed physical malady late in 2013 makes this an easy call against Justin Rose in the opener.

    Player Bracket. Inconsistency amid a undisclosed physical malady late in 2013 makes this an easy call against Justin Rose in the opener.

    40 Branden Grace Branden Grace

    Hogan Bracket. Still feeling his way around in the U.S. despite global success.

    Hogan Bracket. Still feeling his way around in the U.S. despite global success.

    41 Bill Haas Bill Haas

    Hogan Bracket. Has yet to survive the first round in three attempts.

    Hogan Bracket. Has yet to survive the first round in three attempts.

    42 Scott Stallings Scott Stallings

    Debut. Player Bracket. Recent Farmers champ. He and first-round foe, Jason Dufner, should wow spectators as they fire at flag sticks.

    Debut. Player Bracket. Recent Farmers champ. He and first-round foe, Jason Dufner, should wow spectators as they fire at flag sticks.

    43 Nick Watney Nick Watney

    Jones Bracket. Hasn't showcased his patented putting groove in some time. Zero top 25s among five cuts made in six starts this season.

    Jones Bracket. Hasn't showcased his patented putting groove in some time. Zero top 25s among five cuts made in six starts this season.

    44 Graeme McDowell Graeme McDowell

    Snead Bracket. No. 1 upset (to Gary Woodland) in this feature. Winner of the Volvo World Match Play Championship last May.

    Snead Bracket. No. 1 upset (to Gary Woodland) in this feature. Winner of the Volvo World Match Play Championship last May.

    45 Mikko Ilonen Mikko Ilonen

    Debut. Snead Bracket. Snuck into the field with a solo second in Qatar and a T5 in Dubai. Opens against Northern Trust champ, Bubba Watson.

    Debut. Snead Bracket. Snuck into the field with a solo second in Qatar and a T5 in Dubai. Opens against Northern Trust champ, Bubba Watson.

    46 George Coetzee George Coetzee

    Jones Bracket. Three top fives to open 2014, but faces the emotionally lifted former champion, Steve Stricker, in the first round.

    Jones Bracket. Three top fives to open 2014, but faces the emotionally lifted former champion, Steve Stricker, in the first round.

    47 Joost Luiten Joost Luiten

    Debut. Player Bracket. The Dutchman set the table for this appearance with a victory at home in September.

    Debut. Player Bracket. The Dutchman set the table for this appearance with a victory at home in September.

    48 Chris Kirk Chris Kirk

    Debut. Hogan Bracket. After four consecutive top 25s, including a win and solo second, he's finished outside the top 60 in the last two.

    Debut. Hogan Bracket. After four consecutive top 25s, including a win and solo second, he's finished outside the top 60 in the last two.

    49 Kevin Stadler Kevin Stadler

    Debut. Hogan Bracket. Recent winner in Scottsdale could give Charl Schwartzel fits in the opener.

    Debut. Hogan Bracket. Recent winner in Scottsdale could give Charl Schwartzel fits in the opener.

    50 Bernd Wiesberger Bernd Wiesberger

    Debut. Player Bracket. Baptism by fire. Drew the defending champion in the first round.

    Debut. Player Bracket. Baptism by fire. Drew the defending champion in the first round.

    51 Patrick Reed Patrick Reed

    Debut. Jones Bracket. It would not be an upset if he got by Graham DeLaet on Wednesday. Since winning Humana, Reed has added two top 20s.

    Debut. Jones Bracket. It would not be an upset if he got by Graham DeLaet on Wednesday. Since winning Humana, Reed has added two top 20s.

    52 Jonas Blixt Jonas Blixt

    Debut. Snead Bracket. He and first-round draw, Keegan Bradley, are two of last three (Scott Stallings) to win in first two seasons on TOUR.

    Debut. Snead Bracket. He and first-round draw, Keegan Bradley, are two of last three (Scott Stallings) to win in first two seasons on TOUR.

    53 Martin Kaymer Martin Kaymer

    Snead Bracket. Sparkling 9-3 here since 2011, but hasn't logged a top 30 since November. Also pulls Hideki Matsuyama in the first round.

    Snead Bracket. Sparkling 9-3 here since 2011, but hasn't logged a top 30 since November. Also pulls Hideki Matsuyama in the first round.

    54 Kiradech Aphibarnrat Kiradech Aphibarnrat

    Debut. Jones Bracket. The 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit champ has fallen flat in the U.S. Last man in the field, too.

    Debut. Jones Bracket. The 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit champ has fallen flat in the U.S. Last man in the field, too.

    55 Matteo Manassero Matteo Manassero

    Player Bracket. Just one top 20 anywhere in his last 18 starts.

    Player Bracket. Just one top 20 anywhere in his last 18 starts.

    56 Marc Leishman Marc Leishman

    Debut. Hogan Bracket. Since a co-runner-up at Torrey Pines, he's missed the cut at the WM Phoenix Open and placed T59 at Riviera.

    Debut. Hogan Bracket. Since a co-runner-up at Torrey Pines, he's missed the cut at the WM Phoenix Open and placed T59 at Riviera.

    57 Rickie Fowler Rickie Fowler

    Hogan Bracket. Triple whammy: 1) Enters on 0-for-3 skid; 2) Lost in first round last two years; 3) Opens again Match Play boss, Ian Poulter.

    Hogan Bracket. Triple whammy: 1) Enters on 0-for-3 skid; 2) Lost in first round last two years; 3) Opens again Match Play boss, Ian Poulter.

    58 Ernie Els Ernie Els

    Player Bracket. Surprisingly, saw action in the third round only twice in 13 appearances. This sets up Stephen Gallacher's spoiler.

    Player Bracket. Surprisingly, saw action in the third round only twice in 13 appearances. This sets up Stephen Gallacher's spoiler.

    59 Thongchai Jaidee Thongchai Jaidee

    Jones Bracket. Runner-up at the Volvo World Match Play Championship last year, but faces a rolling Webb Simpson on Wednesday.

    Jones Bracket. Runner-up at the Volvo World Match Play Championship last year, but faces a rolling Webb Simpson on Wednesday.

    60 Richard Sterne Richard Sterne

    Snead Bracket. Antepenultimate man in the field. Only one top 25 in his last 10 starts worldwide. Opens against Zach Johnson.

    Snead Bracket. Antepenultimate man in the field. Only one top 25 in his last 10 starts worldwide. Opens against Zach Johnson.

    61 Peter Hanson Peter Hanson

    Snead Bracket. Opening tilt against a torrid Dustin Johnson sets up a quick exit for the Swede.

    Snead Bracket. Opening tilt against a torrid Dustin Johnson sets up a quick exit for the Swede.

    62 Thorbjorn Olesen Thorbjorn Olesen

    Jones Bracket. Recently regained form (before MC at Riviera) after months of inconsistency following whiplash in late March.

    Jones Bracket. Recently regained form (before MC at Riviera) after months of inconsistency following whiplash in late March.

    63 Pablo Larrazabal Pablo Larrazabal

    Debut. Player Bracket. Potent talent with a win recently in Abu Dhabi, but opens against Jordan Spieth.

    Debut. Player Bracket. Potent talent with a win recently in Abu Dhabi, but opens against Jordan Spieth.

    64 Boo Weekley Boo Weekley

    Hogan Bracket. Returning from four weeks off due to a knee injury. Don't expect first-round challenger, Rory McIlroy, to show any mercy.

    Hogan Bracket. Returning from four weeks off due to a knee injury. Don't expect first-round challenger, Rory McIlroy, to show any mercy.

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