One of the more unique events of the PGA Tour season is coming up this week with the WGC-Dell Match Play. Action actually begins on Wednesday because of the need to fit in so many matches. You can bet this like any other golf tournament and try to pick the overall winner, but a lot of handicappers prefer to look at the individual head-to-head matchups and group play for this tournament down at Austin Country Club. Much like the NCAA Tournament after the First Four have been decided, the bracket consists of 64 players. Odds to win from are down below the body of the article, but we’ll talk about how everything is set up and some of the things we’ll be looking at from this tournament.

The Format

Players are packed into groups of 16 and then the rest of the draw is done randomly with one player from each pool selected to participate in a group. The pools are set by Official World Golf Ranking order, so Pool A starts with #1 Dustin Johnson and ends with #17 Sungjae Im because the #12 ranked player in the world, Brooks Koepka, is not playing. The random draw format takes a player from each of the pools and then puts together a group for the bracket. For example, Group 1 is Dustin Johnson, Adam Long, Kevin Na, and Robert MacIntyre. Group 2 is Justin Thomas, Louis Oosthuizen, Kevin Kisner, and Matt Kuchar. The highest-ranked player in a Group will play the lowest-ranked player in the first matches on Wednesday and then play the second-lowest on Thursday and the second-highest on Friday. The players that advance from the Group will be those with the best records over the three matches. Everybody will play on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Only those that advance will play Saturday and those that advance from that will play Sunday.

The Groups

Here are the Groups for this year’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play (OWGR ranking in parentheses):

Group 1

Dustin Johnson (1) Kevin Na (34) Robert MacIntyre (41) Adam Long (61)

Group 2

Justin Thomas (2) Louis Oosthuizen (22) Kevin Kisner (34) Matt Kuchar (52)

Group 3

Jon Rahm (3) Ryan Palmer (24) Shane Lowry (38) Sebastian Munoz (56)

Group 4

Collin Morikawa (4) Billy Horschel (32) Max Homa (35) J.T. Poston (63)

Group 5

Bryson DeChambeau (5) Tommy Fleetwood (21) Si Woo Kim (45) Antoine Rozner (58)

Group 6

Xander Schauffele (6) Scottie Scheffler (30) Jason Day (44) Andy Sullivan (57)

Group 7

Patrick Reed (7) Joaquin Niemann (26) Christiaan Bezuidenhout (33) Bubba Watson (55)

Group 8

Tyrrell Hatton (8) Lee Westwood (18) Sergio Garcia (39) Matt Wallace (51)

Group 9

Webb Simpson (9) Paul Casey (17) Mackenzie Hughes (48) Talor Gooch (59)

Group 10

Patrick Cantlay (10) Hideki Matsuyama (23) Carlos Ortiz (42) Brian Harman (54)

Group 11

Rory McIlroy (11) Cameron Smith (25) Lanto Griffin (46) Ian Poulter (60)

Group 12

Tony Finau (12) Jason Kokrak (29) Will Zalatoris (40) Dylan Frittelli (64)

Group 13

Viktor Hovland (13) Abraham Ancer (27) Bernd Wiesberger (43) Kevin Streelman (53)

Group 14

Daniel Berger (14) Harris English (19) Brendon Todd (47) Erik van Rooyen (62)

Group 15

Matt Fitzpatrick (15) Matthew Wolff (20) Corey Conners (37) Jordan Spieth (49)

Group 16

Sungjae Im (16) Victor Perez (31) Marc Leishman (36) Russell Henley (50) Handicapping Group Play is important. If you’re picking an outright winner, you certainly need them to advance through this portion. None of the groups are particularly easy with effectively all top-70 players on hand, but some draws are better than others. For example, Viktor Hovland seems to have a strong draw here in Group 13. Abraham Ancer is a good putter, but Bernd Wiesberger and Kevin Streelman should be easier matchups for Hovland. He may not even need the win over Ancer to advance, in what will be his toughest match. Given that Hovland is 28/1 with a pretty good chance at making it to the quarterfinals, it isn’t a bad bet at all whatsoever. Another one to look at is Tyrrell Hatton at +3000. Lee Westwood has been in excellent form, but you have to wonder if the schedule has caught up with the 47-year-old. Sergio Garcia has been hit or miss and so has Matt Wallace. While Hatton may not be in the best form, he’s still got a great chance to advance. Patrick Reed at +2500 has an okay draw, but the bigger thing for him is that he thrives in match play. He was great in college at Augusta State and has been huge in the Ryder Cup for Team USA. Some guys don’t love the match play format. Others do and Reed is in that camp.


The Course

Austin Country Club is the course in question this week. Distance is never a bad thing and the winners at Austin CC have been Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, and Kevin Kisner. The runners-up have been Matt Kuchar, Kisner, Jon Rahm, and Louis Oosthuizen. After Rory McIlroy’s win at TPC Harding Park in 2015, Day and DJ won. Since DJ’s win, the seeds that have won are 35th and 48th, with 39th and 50th in the finals, so that is certainly interesting. This is a Pete Dye design in which not many holes are straightforward. A lot of holes bend and there are some elevation changes on the course. The risk-reward strategies employed at Match Play events will be fun to watch here. This is also a big purse of $10.25 million with $1.82 million to the winner.

Handicap & Picks

There are so many different considerations with Match Play. Recent form is certainly helpful, but also the one bad round that takes you out of contention in a regular event may not hurt you as much here. A quadruple-bogey that kills a round simply means a lost hole in this event. Along with Hovland, Hatton, and Reed from above, another consideration is Ian Poulter, who is actually 43-18-5 in his career in Match Play matches, at +10000. Poulter has a tough draw with Rory McIlroy, but Poulter is an outstanding Match Play player and he likes Austin Country Club with a 6-2 record in eight matches. Coverage of the Dell Match Play will be on Golf Channel and NBC.



Justin Thomas +1210
Bryson DeChambeau +1210
Jon Rahm +1310
Dustin Johnson +1410
Collin Morikawa +1800
Rory McIlroy +1800
Patrick Cantlay +2500
Patrick Reed +2500
Xander Schauffele +2500
Jordan Spieth +2500
Daniel Berger +2800
Sungjae Im +2800
Viktor Hovland +2800
Paul Casey +2800
Webb Simpson +3000
Tony Finau +3000
Tyrrell Hatton +3000
Sergio Garcia +3500
Cameron Smith +3500
Louis Oosthuizen +4000
Hideki Matsuyama +4000
Jason Day +4000
Matthew Fitzpatrick +4000
Scottie Scheffler +4500
Will Zalatoris +4500
Tommy Fleetwood +4500
Corey Conners +5000
Joaquin Niemann +5000
Lee Westwood +5000
Abraham Ancer +5000
Jason Kokrak +5500
Christiaan Bezuidenhout +6000
Si Woo Kim +6600
Kevin Kisner +6600
Russell Henley +6600
Bubba Watson +7000
Harris English +7000
Ryan Palmer +7500
Matt Wallace +8000
Max Homa +8000
Billy Horschel +8000
Brian Harman +8000
Shane Lowry +9000
Matthew Wolff +9000
Marc Leishman +10000
Victor Perez +10000
Kevin Na +10000
Lanto Griffin +10000
Ian Poulter +10000
Carlos Ortiz +11000
Brendon Todd +11000
Antoine Rozner +12500
Talor Gooch +12500
Matt Kuchar +12500
Kevin Streelman +14000
Sebastian Munoz +15000
Robert MacIntyre +15000
Dylan Frittelli +15000
Erik Van Rooyen +15000
J.T. Poston +16000
Bernd Wiesberger +17500
Andy Sullivan +17500
Adam Long +20000
Mackenzie Hughes +20000