Our Jim McCabe weighs in on the second-round match-ups – complete with Thursday’s tee times – and who he thinks will advance to golf’s version of the Sweet 16.
• Ernie Els def. Peter Hanson (1:49 p.m. EST) – Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest 64th seed in history, three-time major winner and seven-time world match play champ, the man they call The Big Easy. Imagine making Duke a 64th seed in the NCAA hoops show.
• Kyle Stanley def. Brandt Snedeker (2:01 p.m. EST) – Perhaps the best matchup of the day, it has the makings of a terrific shootout.
• Robert Rock def. Mark Wilson (12:13 p.m. EST) – OK, all right already. We believe in the Man Without A Hat. Rock star he is.
• Dustin Johnson def. Francesco Molinari (12:25 p.m. EST) – Both players had been winless in this Accenture business before escaping Round 1 encounters Wednesday. Hard to figure this one.
• • •
• Martin Kaymer def. David Toms (1:01 p.m. EST) – The German has shown a fondness for Ritz-Carlton GC, though Toms will make him work to advance.
• Bubba Watson def. Matt Kuchar (1:13 p.m. EST) – Power vs. precision, but it appears as if Watson is more comfortable than his former Ryder Cup teammate.
• Steve Stricker def. Louis Oosthuizen (11:25 a.m. EST) – If the five birdies in 17 holes indicates Stricker has a good putting stroke in play, it spells trouble for the former Open Championship winner.
• Y.E. Yang def. Hunter Mahan (11:37 a.m. EST) – Showing off a putting stroke that produced seven birdies, the 2009 PGA champion seems at home on these wild greens. He’s 5-2 in matches at the Ritz-Carlton since 2010, while Mahan struggled at times to get past Zach Johnson.
• • •
• Rory McIlroy def. Anders Hansen (2:13 p.m. EST) – It matters not a bit that McIlroy was lucky to escape George Coetzee in Round 1 . . . unless he doesn’t figure things out, because he played poorly.
• Keegan Bradley def. Miguel Angel Jimenez (2:25 p.m. EST) – With long, sky-scraping moonshots and a deft wedge game, the reigning PGA champion has seemingly taken to this desert course quite nicely, that is, if you think 8 under for 15 holes in his match against Geoff Ogilvy is OK.
• Jason Day def. John Senden (12:37 p.m. EST) – Day was fortunate to have escaped Round 1, but here’s a gut feeling his worst is behind him.
• Charl Schwartzel def. Sang-moon Bae (12:49 p.m. EST) – The Masters champ professes a fondness for this desert venue, so why pick against him?
• • •
• Lee Westwood def. Robert Karlsson (1:25 p.m. EST) – Easiest winner on Day 1, but Karlsson has a different assignment. With chance to return to No. 1, give nod to Westwood.
• Nick Watney def. Tiger Woods (1:37 p.m. EST) – Marquee match-up and storylines galore. But take note, Watney has taken down Lee Westwood in Round 2 each of the last two years, so he seems to thrive in this theater.
• Matteo Manassero def. Martin Laird (11:49 a.m. EST) – There’s something magical about the way the Italian teenager goes about his short-game business here. And besides, who doesn’t want Manassero vs. Ishikawa in Round 3?
• Ryo Ishikawa def. Paul Lawrie (12:01 p.m. EST) – Making spirited run to get into the Masters, the Japanese star must get past a rejuvenated former major champion.