Date: February 24, 2009

In the midst of Tigermania

It’s one of the most exciting weeks of the year on the PGA Tour. The WGC- Accenture World Match Play Championship pits the top 64 ranked golfers in the world against each other. For the only time each season, it s not about beating the course; it s about beating each other. But the biggest news in world golf is that Tiger Woods, after 8 months on the sidelines with a knee injury, is back and ready to play. The bigger news from an Australian perspective is that Brendan Jones has been drawn against the world number one in the opening round. Jones has some history on his side. This format is fraught with upsets and in 2002, Peter O Malley knocked off Tiger. Nick O Hern has done the job on Tiger twice in this format. And the world number one is sure to have some rust after almost 12 months out of competitive golf. Geoff Ogilvy begins his run against American Kevin Sutherland. Ogilvy s record at Accenture is hot. He won in 2006 and finished runner-up in 2007. Rod Pampling starts against world number 10 Camilo Villegas. If Pampling was to upset the Colombian, he ll face either Miguel Angel Jimenez or Rory Sabbatini. Stuart Appleby takes on German hot shot Martin Kaymer with a victory putting him in the gaze of either Anders Hansen or Jim Furyk. Robert Allenby takes on England s Ross Fisher knowing a victory could see him facing Padraig Harrington. But Harrington s road won t be easy- he’s up against Bob Hope Classic winner Pat Perez in a match-up that has the scent of upset all over it. Mathew Goggin has been dealt a tough assignment with Kenny Perry- fresh from his win a fortnight ago at the FBR Open. Should Goggin beat Perry, he could find himself up against fellow Aussie Aaron Baddeley who starts the opening round against Abu Dhabi Championship winner Paul Casey. Adam Scott starts against American Sean O Hair- two of the tours most exciting prospects pitted against one another. In the international match-ups worth watching, Henrik Stenson takes on Davis Love III, Justin Leonard takes on Andres Romero, Dustin Johnson plays Steve Stricker and Australian Open champion Tim Clark plays Retief Goosen.