Brackets for the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship have been finalized, with Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Luke Donald and Louis Oosthuizen – Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 5, respectively, in the Official World Golf Ranking – set as the No. 1 seeds in their respective brackets as the first WGC event of the 2013 season returns to The Golf Club at Dove Mountain, in Marana, Ariz., this week. The 32 first round matches begin Wednesday, with Orange, Calif., native Hunter Mahan (No. 25) looking to defend his title.
Northern Ireland’s McIlory becomes the seventh different No. 1 overall seed in the 15-year history of the event, and he will face Ireland’s Shane Lowry in the first round. Woods is back in the top four for the 11th time after a brief absence (he was No. 19 last year) and will face Charles Howell III. England’s Donald, the No. 1 seed a year ago, will face Marcel Siem of Germany in the first round, and Oosthuizen, who moved to No. 5 in the world ranking, rounds out the top four due to Brandt Snedeker’s withdrawal with a rib injury. Oosthuizen will take on Scotland’s Richie Ramsay.
Rory McIlroy – No. 1 seed in the Bobby Jones Bracket; faces Shane Lowry in the first round
McIlroy joins Luke Donald (2012), Lee Westwood (2011), Steve Stricker (2010), Tiger Woods (1999, 2000, 2002-04, 2006-09), Vijay Singh (2005) and Ernie Els (2001) as No. 1 seeds in Accenture Match Play Championship history.
Making his 16th start in a World Golf Championships event, McIlroy has 10 top-10 finishes. The closest he came to winning was last year’s runner-up, losing to Mahan in the championship match, 2 and 1. This is McIlroy’s fifth time competing in the Accenture Match Play Championship, a tournament where he made his professional U.S. debut in 2009. He has a 10-4 record and has advanced beyond the first round in each of his four previous appearances.
McIlroy is kicking off his PGA Tour season this week. He’s made one start on the European Tour thus far, resulting in a missed cut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Tiger Woods – No. 1 seed in the Gary Player Bracket; faces Charles Howell III in first round
With a victory at the Farmer’s Insurance Open already under his belt in 2013, Woods returns to the Accenture Match Play Championship as a three-time winner of the event (2003, 2004, 2008). Woods has dominated the World Golf Championships with 16 wins in his career and holds the Accenture Match Play Championship record for both matches played (42) and matches won (33), as well as most appearances in the finals (4). He won a tournament record 13 consecutive matches from 2003-05.
In 12 previous appearances, Woods has only lost in the first round twice; however, he has not advanced beyond the second round since his win in 2008.
Luke Donald – No. 1 seed in the Sam Snead Bracket; faces Marcel Siem in the first round
In winning the 2011 Accenture Match Play Championship, Donald never trailed in any of his six matches, and he joined Woods (2003) as the only players to win the event without playing the 18th hole.
Donald holds a 16-7 record in eight starts. Last year, he became only the fourth defending champion to be eliminated in the first round (he was defeated by Ernie Els, 5 and 4). Ian Poulter (2011), Steve Stricker (2002) and Jeff Maggert (2000) are the other three.
Louis Oosthuizen – No. 1 seed in the Ben Hogan Bracket; faces Richie Ramsay in the first round
Oothuizen moved to No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking Sunday, passing Justin Rose and taking the No. 1 seed in the Ben Hogan Bracket due to Snedeker’s withdrawal. Oosthuizen is making his fourth Accenture Match Play Championship appearance and will be looking to improve upon his 1-3 record. Last year was the first time he advanced beyond the first round before losing to Steve Stricker on the 18th hole in round two.
In his three previous appearances, Oosthuizen has entered the event seeded 49th in 2009, 20th in 2011 and 28th in 2012.
The Accenture Match Play Championship, which is the first in a series of four World Golf Championships events in 2013, has been played in the Tucson area since 2007 and at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain since 2009.