Five best pairings at Match Play Championship

Rory McIlroy narrowly lost to Hunter Mahan in 2012, can either get to the finals again? (USATSI)
Rory McIlroy narrowly lost to Hunter Mahan in 2012; can either get to the finals again? (USATSI)

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The Match Play Championship is again upon us, this year sans Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott.

Don't worry, though, there are still plenty of good stories (and players) in Dove Mountain this week. Here are your five best matchups for Round 1 (starting on Wednesday) of the tournament:

Rickie Fowler (14) vs. Ian Poulter (3) -- All of the colors. But seriously, this will be a fun match between two of the game's better characters. Too bad, too, it would be fun to see them meet later on in the tournament.

Lee Westwood (8) vs. Harris English (9) -- Two guys going opposite directions in the world rankings and in their respective career arcs. Also two of the best ball strikers on Planet Earth.

Jason Day (2) vs. Thorbjorn Olesen (15) -- I wouldn't bet against Olesen if he was playing Tiger Woods in 2001; that's how dangerous he is. Day should win but this will be a war.

Rory McIlroy (1) vs. Boo Weekley (16) -- Everything I want in my Match Play pairings. The world class favorite trying to seal the deal on his first win since switching to Nike. The underdog No. 16 seed who doubles as one of the best iron players in the world. I just wish we could get a mic on them for their round together.

Jason Dufner (4) vs. Scott Stallings (13) -- Sneaky good match here. Dufner will be the crowd favorite (as usual) but Stallings is playing the better golf. Winner probably gets Luke Donald in the second round. Should be fun.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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