Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

The Loop

Match Play: Lower seeds have upper hand

February 18, 2010

MARANA, Ariz. -- Seeds apparently mean little, just as most players insist, at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Thursday's second round at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain saw 12 of the 16 matches won by the lower seed, and all three of the remaining No. 1 seeds -- Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood and Jim Furyk -- were eliminated.

This is the fourth time in 12 years -- and the third time in the last four years -- that the four top seeds failed to advance beyond the second round.

"This is not the Big Dance (the NCAA basketball tournament). This is 1 through 1 A," said British Open champion Stewart Cink, a No. 5 seed who knocked off No. 4 Sean O'Hair. "Everybody is so close and even in this field that there's no George Mason in this thing. Eighteen holes is not enough really to separate, you know, the pedigree of golfers."

Actually, a lot fewer than 18 holes were needed in most cases. Only two matches went the distance, while another two were extended to 20 holes before deciding a winner.

But no matter the length of the contest, the lower seeds managed to secure the upper hand and move on. Paul Casey, the No. 2 seed in the Snead Bracket, is the highest seeded player left among the final 16 in the year's first World Golf Championship event.

"No, the seeding doesn't mean anything," said South Africa's Retief Goosen, who outlasted compatriot Ernie Els in 20 holes in the day's final match and then was rewarded by having to submit to a drug test. "You've got to go out there and play your best golf and you can beat anybody. The depth in the fields are so strong now, and a lot of the Europeans are very strong now, so anybody can win any match out there."

-- Dave Shedloski