And then there were eight. We tallied your votes and have whittled the list to the last remaining eight golfers in our Best American Golfer bracket. There was only one upset in the opening round, as 12-seed Matt Kuchar took down No. 5 Jimmy Walker. Who will make the Final Four? You decide!
1) Bubba Watson (91%) vs. 16) Zach Johnson (9%)
2) Jordan Spieth (96%) vs. 15) J.B. Holmes (4%)
3) Dustin Johnson (74%) vs. 14) Tiger Woods (26%)
4) Patrick Reed (79%) vs. 13) Keegan Bradley (21%)
5) Jimmy Walker (45%) vs. 12) Matt Kuchar (55%)
6) Rickie Fowler (66%) vs. 11) Jim Furyk (34%)
7) Phil Mickelson (73%) vs. 10) Brooks Koepka (27%)
8) Brandt Snedeker (61%) vs. 9) Billy Horschel (39%)
1) Bubba Watson vs. 8) Brandt Snedeker
The long ball against the flat stick. Bubba Watson won in dominating fashion over Zach Johnson in the opening round, but Brandt Snedeker could prove a stouter opponent. Both in their mid-30s, each player attacks the golf course in drastically different ways. Bubba uses blunt force and creativity, while Brandt relies on his ‘pop’ putting stroke to make up for his lack of pop off the tee. Both went to SEC schools: Bubba at Georgia and Brandt at Vanderbilt.
2) Jordan Spieth vs. 7) Phil Mickelson
The legend versus the young gun. Mickelson hasn’t won since his magical 2013 British Open triumph and only has one top-10 in his last 25 events. Spieth has four top-10s and a victory in the last two months. All signs point to Spieth knocking off the man who is twice his age, but in the memorable words of Toby Keith: Mickelson may not be as good as he once was, but he’s as good once as he ever was.
3) Dustin Johnson vs. 6) Rickie Fowler
The anchor of their respective equipment companies. Beautiful significant others. Unfulfilled potential. These two have more in common than you might think. Rickie Fowler had a historic 2014 where he was always on the first page of the leaderboard in each of the majors, but never could get in the winner’s circle. Dustin Johnson has had chances slip through his fingers over the years whether it be from ignorance or Sunday nerves. At the end of the day, the loser still has a pretty great life.
4) Patrick Reed vs. 12) Matt Kuchar
Matt Kuchar upset fellow Tour nice guy Jimmy Walker in the opening round of our bracket, and sources say it was the first time Kuchar had ever upset anyone. The same cannot be said for Patrick Reed, who has always marched to the beat of his own 2-iron. Both will attempt to one-up each other with their short-game wizardry, but Reed will shush Kuchar after Kooch repeatedly says, “Great shot, buddy” over and over.