WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships: Tiger Woods, Graeme McDowell Among The Golfers To Watch

Graeme McDowell has excelled at match play and is off to a torrid start this season. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Poulter attempting a repeat; Woods trying to win; Casey looking for another shot. The story lines run deep at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

One of the most exciting events on the PGA Tour has arrived: the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championships. It's the one tournament of the year where any fan can fill out the bracket as if it were March Madness for golf. In fact, it's set up the same way the NCAA Tournament was a few years ago: Four regions, 64 golfers, one winner.

Out of those golfers, here are the five players to watch this week as the tournament gets underway at the
Ritz-Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz.

Graeme McDowell

McDowell shows no mercy in match play. At last year's Ryder Cup, McDowell clinched the cup for the Euros. On fire lately, McDowell has one win and four top-fives in his last five starts. However, McDowell is in a very tough division with Phil Mickelson, defending champ Ian Poulter, Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler and Stewart Cink. 

Ian Poulter

Last year's winner, Poulter is obviously a favorite going into this week. However, only Tiger Woods has repeated at the Match Play Championships, and repeating will be difficult for Poulter. His draw is brutal and could face Cink, McDowell and Mickelson before even making it to the final four. 

Stewart Cink

A dangerous player with a stellar record in match play. Most people don't realize just how dominant Cink has been in the match play format, his record is a stunning 21-11 (considering almost all golfers have a losing record in match play). However, Cink is in the same bracket with McDowell and Co. With a key first-round matchup against Poulter, Cink will be tested from the start.  

Paul Casey

A bridesmaid the last two years, Casey will try to alter the outcome -- if can be the first player to make the finals three straight years. Casey should have a relatively easy schedule getting to the final eight before what could be a thrilling matchup with Tiger Woods.

Tiger Woods

It's nearly impossible to predict how Woods will do this week. The Match Play Championships is a tournament he has dominated and won three previous times, but his past success hasn't meant much of late. Woods shouldn't have much trouble in the first two rounds, and will potentially face Dustin Johnson in the third round, which would be his first true test. After that, Woods will have to grind it out; he could face anyone from Casey to Els to a dark horse in Camilo Villegas. It would be a huge step for Tiger if he could pull out a win here, against practically every big name in golf. 

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