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Broncos or birdies?

This may be the busiest, and coolest, time of the year in the Old Pueblo. While locals,and tens of thousands of snowbirds, are trying to decide to either break out their Stetsons and watch handsome young men ride enthusiastic farm animals or wander around the world’s greatest gem and mineral show, there is another world-class event in town that deserves equal attention: The Accenture Match Play Championship at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain.

Sixty-four of the greatest golfers on the planet are in town, playing for a share of money equivalent to the GNP of a small third-world country.

It is difficult to think of a greater contrast between two sporting events than the snorting, dusty, wild chaos of the Tucson Rodeo and the seemingly serene, overly polite nature of professional golf.

On the one hand, you’ve got dust and slamming metal gates, controlled violence and the looming specter of blood and serious injury. On the other, emerald grass fairways winding through absolutely beautiful Sonoran desert and controlled silence with an overlay of elegant pretentiousness, perhaps more reminiscent of the Westminster Dog Show than a sporting event.

But here’s the deal: This golf tournament is a world-class gathering of the most supremely talented athletes in their chosen sport. And it takes place in a setting most people would define as breathtakingly gorgeous.

So, if you’re looking for something to do over the next couple of days, buckaroo, consider saddling up and riding out to the southern slopes of the Tortolita Mountains. This tournament, this show, is also a real gem.

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Italy's Francesco Molinari in the 2012 Match Play tourney.