The first week of April is arguably the best in all of sports. It marks the start of Major League Baseball, while the NHL wraps up its regular season with an array of heightened, playoff worthy games. And of course, it's bracketed (get it?) by the NCAA Championship tonight and The Masters this coming weekend. With it comes a multitude of ways to lose your money -- some are even legal in certain states -- and we're certainly not above offering you unsubstantiated advice on who to ride this coming weekend.
Proving that there is a correlation between golf and this year's NCAA Championship game besides Gary Woodland and J.B. Holmes, our friends over at Yahoo have gone through the trouble of serving up a Sweet 16 of Masters hopefuls into four, four-player brackets. The attempt is noble, but Rory vs. Phil is not the matchup we want to see. If it does not include the word "Tiger", it is not the matchup "we" want to see. Assuming "we" includes "me". So I've decided to take a crack at their bracket breakdown using my own misguided strategy. I wouldn't read too much into it however, I picked St. Bonaventure to go all the way.
Majors Not Masters Bracket:
1. Rory McIlroy vs. 4. Keegan Bradley: No gambler has ever put money on a man named Keegan and walked away feeling confident. I'm not starting now; Rory going away.
2. Martin Kaymer vs. 3. Graeme McDowell: Zzzzzzzzz. What? Did you say something? Oh, yeah, um... let's say Graeme just to have the Irish thing going on in the finals.
1. Rory McIlroy vs. 3. Grame McDowell: Guiness sales are through the roof watching this matchup. We're here to please the sponsors, so we can't take Rory out this early. Sorry, Graeme.
American Hopefuls Bracket:
1. Webb Simpson vs. 4. Bill Haas: Haas!
2. Hunter Mahan vs. 3. Dustin Johnson: Everyone likes to talk about Dustin Johnson, except for those who are talking about golfers that win tournaments. Mahan has already won two this year, so he gets the nod.
4. Bill Haas vs. 2. Hunter Mahan: Haas!
Recent Champions Bracket:
1. Phil Mickelson vs. 4. Zach Johnson: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Count me as the only white guy above the age of 30 who could care less about Lefty. But he wins, and he wins at Augusta.
2. Tiger Woods vs. 3. Charl Schwartzel: I won't bet on a man named Keegan, and I sure as hell won't bet on a man named Charl.
1. Phil Mickelson vs. 2. Tiger Woods: Everyone likes to point out that Phil has gotten the better of Tiger as recently as this year's AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, but aside from his 65 at this past week's Houston Open, Mickelson has gone 14 out of 15 rounds without breaking 70 (thanks Alex Myers). Meanwhile, Tiger is coming off his first victory in two-plus years. I'm riding the wave, Tiger takes it.
International Stars Bracket:
1. Luke Donald vs. 4. Adam Scott: Forget Tiger, forget Rory, forget Phil; Luke Donald is the number one player in the world. Crazy right?
2. Lee Westwood vs. 3. Justin Rose: Hey, you know who else has been No. 1 more recently than Tiger? Lee Westwood. I know, I couldn't believe it either.
1. Luke Donald vs. 2. Lee Westwood: In this showdown of players battling it out to retain the No. 1 spot for the few weeks left before Tiger reclaims it, I'm going with Luke Donald.
1. Rory McIlroy vs. 4. Bill Haas: Haas!
2. Tiger Woods vs. 1. Luke Donald: In my "real" life, I'm rooting for Donald to prove he is in fact the No. 1 player in the world. But in my real life, I'm taking Tiger.
1. Tiger Woods vs. 4. Bill Haas: I bet you didn't see this one coming. Bill Haas is a machine; he doesn't care about your silly rankings, just show him which tournaments will make him the most money and let the horse run. But Tiger just looks too good right now, and I predict a return to form in record-setting fashion. At least that's where I'd put my money if I were a gambling man.
-- Derek Evers