It’s March. And the madness isn’t reserved for the gym.
Rory McIlroy is the unquestioned top golfer in the world, but there’s a much more interesting debate over who can claim the top spot as the best American golfer in the game. In the spirit of the season, we leave it in your hands to find out who stands supreme as the best golfer in the United States. Place your votes for part one of the opening round, and we’ll head to the other side of the bracket at the end of the week.
1) Bubba Watson vs. 16) Zach Johnson
As luck would have it, two of the four Masters champs in the field are pitted against each other in the opening round. But these two green-jacket holders could not have more diverse ways of earning them. Bubba overpowers every course he steps on while Zach plods along, picking his spots to attack with vicious wedge play. While Bubba would hit driver, 9-iron into Augusta’s par-5 13th, Zach is cool hitting driver, 5-iron, wedge. Regardless of how they did it, both are major champions.
8) Brandt Snedeker vs. 9) Billy Horschel
A lovely 8-9 matchup. Sneds has regained his putting prowess, evident by the 22-under mark he posted to win the Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this year. Horschel hasn’t regained the form that he showed at the end of last year when he finished the season with a runner-up and two-straight victories, but don’t ever count the fiery Floridian out. He proved he can win on a big stage. And there’s no stage bigger than GOLF.com’s Best American Golfer Bracket stage.
3) Dustin Johnson vs. 14) Tiger Woods
Dustin Johnson is on top of the world. He’s got a toddler at home with fiance Paulina Gretzky, he’s hanging out with Wayne every day over breakfast in sunny California, and he’s playing some really good golf right now. Tiger Woods is the exact opposite. Woods is stuck on 14 majors and coincidentally the No. 14 seed in the tournament. How can Tiger advance against the long-hitting DJ? Dustin has been known to buckle under pressure. Remember the Sunday 82 in the 2010 U.S. Open and the bunker incident at Whistling Straits? Perhaps Tiger could work up some old mind tricks and get inside DJ’s head. That’s his only hope.
6) Rickie Fowler vs. 11) Jim Furyk
This two players could not be more different. Let’s just say, the children don’t dress up in Jim Furyk’s clothes and chase him down for autographs during tournaments. Since 2011, they have one win COMBINED. And it’s Fowler’s! That’s shocking. Furyk is also five inches taller than Fowler.