It’s Match Play week and we’re fired up for one of the best tournaments of the year! We’ve got eight Callaway players in the 64-man field (Noren, Els, Furyk, Bjorn, Grace, Jacobson, Colsaerts, Jaidee) and a number of storylines to talk about. Here we go!
Harry Arnett (SVP, Marketing)
Harry’s Picks: Branden Grace, Jim Furyk, Nicolas “Nick” Colsaerts
It’s strange making picks for the WGC Match Play event this week because I always like to pick upsets in these kinds of things. I mean, where’s the glory in picking Duke over some weakling #16 seed in the NCAA tournaments. Oh, but there are upsets abound in the WGC Match Play. But are they really upsets when they happen so often? Man, I’m so confused.
We are doing a #ZooCrew office pool for this one. Very, VERY high stakes. (ScottyG is running this one in case anybody in HR or from the IRS is reading this). I went through it the way I always do brackets: trust Malcom Gladwell’s research and go with my first instinct.
Here’s how it shook out:
-Branden Grace. I feel this guy is due to have a coming out party on a grand stage. This guy had one of the best years of any player last year. It seemed like he won just about every other event on the European Tour last year, and had a 4Bill bomb playing with the Big Cat at Firestone. So I’m going with my gut and picking him.
-Jim Furyk. Redemption in match play for Jimmy Ice (I stole the “Ice” nickname from the best quarterback in the history of the NFL, Matt Ryan). He had a bad experience last fall in his last match play tournament which I will not name by name. Hint, it rhymes with “Scmryder Schmrup”). I feel Jimmy will play well this week.
-Nick Colsaerts. You’ll notice I just called him “Nick.” I just did one of my favorite things I see the guys do on talk shows when they work with someone who has a more famous formal name. You know what I mean? Like when an actor has worked with Robert DeNiro in a movie and the talk show host asks him what it was like to be on set with DeNiro and the guy says, “Oh, Bob is such a great guy.”
He does that to show that he knows him on a personal level. Well, I don’t really know Colsaerts on a personal level but when I met him for the first time in October, he introduced himself as “Nick.” So, I think Nick’s a great guy. He hits it a ton and in the desert, he should be able to annihilate that course and make a ton of birdies and eagles. Nick’s also an #Xbomb machine.
Okay, there you have it. Branden, Jimmy Ice, and Nick. Take that to the window at the sports book and thank me later.
Greg Sabella (Trade Marketing Director)
Greg’s Picks: Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Thomas Bjorn
Pick 1 – Els – The Big Easy tends to win at unexpected times and on the biggest of stages. He is ready for another surprise victory in the only match play event of the season. When he putts well, he wins, and he seems to be in pretty good form now that he has VERSAFIED his flat stick.
Pick 2 – Furyk – A grinder who will wear down his opponent. Plays well in big events and is looking to redeem himself after a few slips last year.
Pick 3 – Bjorn – The Great Dane is as tough as nails and has proven to be a force in match play. He’ll thrive in the forecasted cold weather and will make his 9th appearance his best.
Jason Finley (Marketing Director)
Jason’s Picks: Nicolas Colsaerts, Jim Furyk, Thomas Bjorn
With the match play event this week, one must do a little deeper analysis on the field to come up with picks. #TeamCallaway got a little bit of a bad draw with the Ben Hogan bracket loaded up with members of the team. Based on this, here are the winning picks for the week. Beyond this group, as is the case when the best in the world get together, look for lots of Odyssey users as we get further into the event.
My first pick is who I expect to come out of the loaded Ben Hogan bracket – Nicolas Colsaerts. He has a great history in match play events and is a bomber who is a tough opponent to be hitting behind all day. His length off the tee and touch with the putter will wear out plenty of opponents this week.
For my second pick I will go with Jim Furyk. His grinding will be enough to wear out his competition and is the worst type of player to play in match play. Look for Jim to have a great week.
My third and final pick for the week will be a little bit of a shock to some but I will go with Thomas Bjorn. He has a pretty nice run ahead of him in the Gary Player bracket and I look for him to go deep into the weekend.
Jeff Newton (Tour Beat Writer)
Jeff’s Picks: Furyk, Els, Colsaerts
Pick #1 - Furyk
Furyk’s game is quietly trending upward now that he has an X Hot Driver in the bag. He’s no stranger to match play, and he knows how to grind out scores; the kind of mentality players need to move on in this event. Furyk also leads the PGA Tour in driving accuracy this year and is striping the ball beautifully. He’s in for a huge week!
Pick #2 - Els
The Big Easy is building some momentum after a solid week at Riviera. He’s dialed in with his Versa Putter and since his ballstriking is always on point, Els is going to put a lot of pressure on his opponents. They’ll have to go low to beat him because he certainly won’t give any holes away.
Pick #3 - Colsaerts
I’ve been going back and forth between Colsaerts and Jaidee and have had a hard time pulling the trigger. Colsaerts looks comfortable and Jaidee has already posted three top-10s on the European Tour this season. In the end, Colsaerts wins out after his brilliant performance last year at a little match play event called The Ryder Cup.
The Final Word
We’ve got eight elite players in the field this week, and we really like Colsaerts, Els and Furyk’s chances.
For more on all of our staffers and their equipment, please visit the Callaway home page.