WGC Matchplay: Inside The Course, Format & Stats

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Everything you need to know about the World Golf Championship Dell Match Play

The second WGC event of 2019 is packed with intriguing storylines as the Dell Technologies Match Play returns to Austin Country Club in Texas.

Tiger Woods, a three-time Match Play champ, returns for the first time since 2013; Rory McIlroy is going for his second win in a row after his Players Championship success – and the battle to be world No.1  

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The Course

Austin Country Club will play to 7,108 yards, with a par of 71. Now in its fourth year as Match Play host, Pete Dye’s design features a front nine on higher ground that showcases the Texas hills, followed by a “lowlands” nine alongside Lake Austin that offers a scenic backdrop and some risk/reward tee shots. Austin , founded 1899, is thought to be the oldest golf club in Texas, relocating twice before coming to its current site. Austin holds a place in TOUR history books as the original venue for the Legends of Golf in 1978, a tenure that ran through 1994.

 

The format

World rankings determine the 16 top seeds, with blind draws to fill each group from pools of players seeded Nos. 17-32, Nos. 33-48 and the remainder. The draws will be televised Monday.

Rory McIlroy has finished no worse than sixth this year, and won the 2105 Match Play crown at TPC Harding Park. Dustin Johnson is going for his second WGC-Mexico/Match Play double in three years, having captured both WGCs in 2017. He was a five-shot winner earlier this year in Mexico.

Tiger Woods gets his first look at Austin CC, having played his last at Dove Mountain in 2013. He lasted just one day that year, beaten by Charles Howell III, but is guaranteed three days under the group play instituted in 2015. Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia both have a chance to surpass Woods for the all-time lead in matches played. Woods has teed it up in 43 matches, Poulter has 42 and Garcia sits at 41. Woods’ 33 career match wins is still out of reach for anyone.

Bracket 1: Groups 1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12, 13, 16
Bracket 2: Groups 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 14, 15

What happened last year

Bubba Watson claimed his second WGC crown, beating Kevin Kisner 7&6 in a one-sided final. Watson never trailed in the 28 holes he played on the final day, which began with a 3&2 semi-final win over Justin Thomas. Kisner needed 19 holes to dispatch Sweden’s Alex Noren in his semi, and the toll showed from the first tee of the championship match.

Kisner went 5-down through five. Though he birdied 11, Watson finished it a hole later with a birdie on the par-5 12th. The trophy was Watson’s second in four starts, following a win at the Genesis Open. 

Justin Rose returns to the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play for the first time since 2016, when it first visited Austin Country Club. It’s also the first Austin visit for Henrik Stenson, who last played the event in 2015.

In all, Austin is set to greet 62 of the world’s top 64 who qualified. Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott declined their spots, the second consecutive year each has opted to sit out. 

It means Satoshi Kodaira and Luke List get in the elite field. It’s the second straight year List has come in from the reserves.

Bryson DeChambeau, who came up just short of qualifying last year, is one of 10 players set for their WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play debuts. Honda Classic winner Keith Mitchell is set to make his first WGC start, ever.

 

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STATS YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Three of the four champions under the new format were top-two overall seeds in the tournament: Rory McIlroy in 2015 (top seed), Jason Day in 2016 (second), and Dustin Johnson in 2017 (top seed). Last year, Bubba Watson was the 35th seed. 

  • Tiger Woods will make his first start in this tournament since 2013. Woods is the event's all-time leader in matches won (33), matches played (43), largest margin of victory (9 and 8 against Stephen Ames in 2006), and most consecutive matches won (13, from 2003 to 2005).

  • Dustin Johnson has won more holes (77) than any other player since this tournament moved to Austin Country Club in 2016. Bubba Watson has won the most matches in that span, with 11.

  • Expect upsets: There have been 48 groups in the three years this event has been held at Austin CC. In that span, only 37.5 percent of the players to advance have been the highest-ranked players in the group (or from 'Pool A'), 25 percent have been the second-highest, while 18.8 percent have been either third-highest or lowest.


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The Groups

GROUP 1:

1. DUSTIN JOHNSON (14-12) 
24. HIDEKI MATSUYAMA (7-7-1)
40. BRANDEN GRACE (6-8-1)
55. CHEZ REAVIE (1-1-1)

MATCHES

Wednesday: Johnson vs. Reavie; Matsuyama vs. Grace
Thursday: Johnson vs. Grace; Matsuyama vs. Reavie
Friday: Johnson vs. Matsuyama; Grace vs. Reavie

GROUP 2

2. JUSTIN ROSE (10-11-1)
22. GARY WOODLAND (8-6-1)
34. EDDIE PEPPERELL (0-0)
53. EMILIANO GRILLO (1-4-1) 

MATCHES

Wednesday: Rose vs. Grillo; Woodland vs. Pepperell
Thursday: Rose vs. Pepperell; Woodland vs. Grillo
Friday: Rose vs. Woodland; Pepperell vs. Grillo

GROUP 3

3. BROOKS KOEPKA (8-4).
27. ALEX NOREN (11-4-0)
36. HAO TONG LI (0-3-0)
60. TOM LEWIS (0-0) 

MATCHES

Wednesday: Koepka vs. Lewis; Noren vs. Li
Thursday: Koepka vs. Li; Noren vs. Lewis
Friday: Koepka vs. Noren; Li vs. Lewis

GROUP 4

4. RORY MCILROY (24-11-2)
32. MATTHEW FITZPATRICK (4-5-0)
47. JUSTIN HARDING (0-0) 
64. LUKE LIST (0-3-0) 

MATCHES

Wednesday: McIlroy vs. List; Fitzpatrick vs. Harding
Thursday: McIlroy vs. Harding; Fitzpatrick vs. List
Friday: McIlroy vs Fitzpatrick; Harding vs. List

GROUP 5

5. JUSTIN THOMAS ( 6-7-0) 
31. KEEGAN BRADLEY (1-7-2)
33. MATT WALLACE (0-0) 
50. LUCAS BJERREGAARD (0-0)

MATCHES

Wednesday: Thomas vs. Bjerregaard; Bradley vs. Wallace
Thursday: Thomas vs. Wallace; Bradley vs. Bjerregaard
Friday: Thomas vs. Bradley; Wallace vs. Bjerregaard

GROUP 6

6. BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU (0-0) 
17. MARC LEISHMAN (5-8-2)
39. KIRADECH APHIBARNRAT (6-3-0) 
59. RUSSELL KNOX (2-3-1) 

MATCHES

Wednesday: DeChambeau vs. Knox; Leishman vs. Aphibarnrat
Thursday: DeChambeau vs. Aphibarnrat; Leishman vs. Knox
Friday: DeChambeau vs. Leishman; Alphibarnrat vs. Knox

Group 7

7. FRANCESCO MOLINARI (4-11-0)
21. WEBB SIMPSON (8-8-1)
45. THORBJORN OLESEN (2-4-0) 
63. SATOSHI KODAIRA (0-3-0)

MATCHES

Wednesday: Molinari vs. Kodaira; Simpson vs. Olesen
Thursday: Molinari vs. Olesen; Simpson vs. Kodaira
Friday: Molinari vs. Simpson; Olesen vs. Kodaira

Group 8

8. JON RAHM (6-3-1)
23. MATT KUCHAR (24-9-3)
43. J.B. HOLMES (6-7-2)
54. SI WOO KIM (3-2-2)

MATCHES

 Wednesday: Rahm vs. Kim; Kuchar vs. Holmes
Thursday: Rahm vs. Holmes; Kuchar vs. Kim
Friday: Rahm vs. Kuchar; Holmes vs. Kim

Group 9

9. XANDER SCHAUFFELE (2-1-0)
29. RAFA CABRERA BELLO (9-6-1)
35. TYRRELL HATTON (4-3-0)
62. LEE WESTWOOD (17-19) 

MATCHES

Wednesday: Schauffele vs. Westwood; Cabrera Bello vs. Hatton
Thursday: Schauffele vs. Hatton; Cabrera Bello vs. Westwood
Friday: Schauffele vs. Cabrera Bello; Hatton vs. Westwood

Group 10

10. PAUL CASEY (25-14-1)
25. CAMERON SMITH (3-1-1)
42. CHARLES HOWELL III (10-11-0) 
58. ABRAHAM ANCER (0-0)

MATCHES

Wednesday: Casey vs. Ancer; Smith vs. Howell
Thursday: Casey vs. Howell; Smith vs. Ancer
Friday: Casey vs. Smith; Howell vs. Ancer

Group 11

11. TOMMY FLEETWOOD (6-5-0) 
19. LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN (19-10-0)
41. KYLE STANLEY (4-3-0) 
49. BYEONG-HUN AN (1-4-2)

MATCHES

Wednesday: Fleetwood vs. An; Oosthuizen vs. Stanley
Thursday: Fleetwood vs. Stanley; Oosthuizen vs. An
Friday: Fleetwood vs. Oosthuizen; Stanley vs. An

Group 12

12. JASON DAY (22-11-0) 
20. PHIL MICKELSON (24-14-0)
37. HENRIK STENSON (14-9)
52. JIM FURYK (19-18-1)

MATCHES

Wednesday: Day vs. Furyk; Mickelson vs. Stenson
Thursday: Day vs. Stenson; Mickelson vs. Furyk
Friday: Day vs. Mickelson; Stenson vs. Furyk

Group 13

13. TIGER WOODS (33-10) 
18. PATRICK CANTLAY (2-1-0)
44. BRANDT SNEDEKER (7-8-1) 
61. AARON WISE (0-0) 

MATCHES

Wednesday: Woods vs. Wise; Cantlay vs. Snedeker
Thursday: Woods vs. Snedeker; Cantlay vs. Wise
Friday: Woods vs. Cantlay; Snedeker vs. Wise

Group 14

14. TONY FINAU (2-1-0)
30. IAN POULTER (27-15-0)
48. KEVIN KISNER (8-4-1)
56. KEITH MITCHELL (0-0) 

MATCHES

Wednesday: Finau vs. Mitchell; Poulter vs. Kisner
Thursday: Finau vs. Kisner; Poulter vs. Mitchell
Friday: Finau vs. Poulter; Kisner vs. Mitchell

Group 15

15. BUBBA WATSON (20-8-3)
28. JORDAN SPIETH (11-5-1)
38. BILLY HORSCHEL (4-4)
57. KEVIN NA (5-8-2)

MATCHES

Wednesday: Watson vs. Na; Spieth vs. Horschel
Thursday: Watson vs. Horschel; Spieth vs. Na
Friday: Watson vs. Spieth; Horschel vs. Na

Group 16

16. PATRICK REED (9-6-1)
26. SERGIO GARCIA (22-18-1)
46. SHANE LOWRY (3-7-2)
51. ANDREW PUTNAM (0-0) 

MATCHES

Wednesday: Reed vs. Putnam; Garcia vs. Lowry
Thursday: Reed vs. Lowry; Garcia vs. Putnam
Friday: Reed vs. Garcia; Lowry vs. Putnam

Sarah Pyett