WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Preview

The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is due to tee off at Austin Country Club in Texas. Here’s all you need to know about the field, format and more ahead of the five-day event.

Billy Horschel returns to defend his title after beating Scottie Scheffler 2 and 1 in the final a year ago and could become only the second player ever to defend this title, along with Tiger Woods who went back-to-back in 2003 and 2004. Former world No 1’s Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson are among this tournament’s roll of honour.

Why is it played over five days?

With most PGA Tour events taking place over four days, the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play has a Wednesday start and takes place over five days. The first three days cover round-robin match play, with the 64-player field split into 16 groups of four. Players will earn a full point for a win and a half point for a tied match, with the winner of each group then progressing to the knockout stages.

In the event of a tie at the top of the group, a sudden-death play-off will determine who progresses through to the weekend. The last-16 and the quarter-finals will then take place on Saturday, while the semi-finals are scheduled for early on Sunday before the final later that day.

Who qualifies to play?

The field is particularly strong for this event. Only the top 64 in the official world rankings are eligible to play, with any players immediately below that in the standings replacing players who withdraw from the event.

What are the groups to look out for?

Bryson DeChambeau will return to action after being sidelined with a hand and hip injury and will play Talor Gooch, Lee Westwood and Richard Bland. World No 1 Jon Rahm is up against Sebastian Munoz, Cameron Young and Patrick Reed. World No 2 Collin Morikawa is grouped with Jason Kokrak, Sergio Garcia and Robert MacIntyre.

Other big-name groups include: Justin Thomas, Kevin Kisner, Marc Leishman and Luke List; and Jordan Spieth will face Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Keegan Bradley. All the groups are set out below.

Which big names are not playing?

Six of the 64 eligible players will not take part. World number 8 Rory McIlroy is perhaps the biggest name to withdraw, ahead of playing the Valero Texas Open. Phil Mickelson, meanwhile, is continuing his break from golf, while Hideki Matsuyama and Harris English are both injured.

Australian Cameron Smith has also withdrawn following his victory at The Players, while Sam Burns withdrew after winning the Valspar Championship last week. Still, this event is the second strongest field of the year behind The Players Championship.

What’s the golf course like?

Designed by Pete Dye, the course at Austin Country Club opened in 2015 along Lake Austin and has hosted this event since 2016. The wind, particularly at those holes exposed to the water, often plays a role, and the hilly inland holes offer risks and reward opportunities that make this golf course a great choice for match-play format. Elevation changes begin between hole 8 and 18 and become severe at 11, 12 and 13 as Der Creek Canyon winds its way across the course.

What is a WGC event?

(WGC) World Golf Championships are among the most important events on the golf calendar, ranking above regular PGA Tour events in prestige and below the four major championships. Only the PGA Tour’s flagship event, The Players Championship, commonly known as golf’s unofficial ‘fifth major’, can rival WGC events. They are official money events on both the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour.

For the 2022 season, there will only be two WGC tournaments, the WGC-Dell Match Play and the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. The WGC tournament in Mexico is no longer designated a WGC event, and the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational will now be known as the FedEx St. Jude Championship and will now be the first event of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

What’s the prize money?

The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play purse is set for $12 million, with the winner’s share coming in at $2,100,000. Second place gets $1,320,000; third gets $852,000; and fourth $685,000. Every player earns money, with the last-place finisher earning $40,000. Players who proceed from the round-robin stage and into the final bracket of 16 earn a minimum of $220,000. Losers in the quarter-final round get $386,000.

The winner of this event will get 550 FedEx Cup points and 74 Official World Golf Ranking points, a three-plus season exemption on the PGA Tour, as well as places in the Masters and the PGA Championship and next year’s Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Groups:

Group 1: Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed, Cameron Young, Sebastian MunozGroup 2: Collin Morikawa, Jason Kokrak, Sergio Garcia, Robert Macintyre
Group 3: Viktor Hovland, Will Zalatoris, Cameron Tringale, Sepp Straka
Group 4: Patrick Cantlay, Sungjae Im, Seamus Power, Keith Mitchell
Group 5: Scottie Scheffler, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood, Ian Poulter
Group 6: Justin Thomas, Kevin Kisner, Marc Leishman, Luke List
Group 7: Xander Schauffele, Tony Finau, Lucas Herbert, Takumi Kanaya
Group 8: Dustin Johnson, Max Homa, Matthew Wolff, Mackenzie Hughes
Group 9: Bryson DeChambeau, Talor Gooch, Lee Westwood, Richard Bland
Group 10: Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Casey, Corey Conners, Alex Noren
Group 11: Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Keegan Bradley
Group 12: Billy Horschel, Thomas Pieters, Tom Hoge, Min Woo Lee
Group 13: Tyrrell Hatton, Daniel Berger, Si Woo Kim, Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Group 14: Joaquin Niemann, Kevin Na, Russell Henley, Mverick McNealy
Group 15: Abraham Ancer, Webb Simpson, Brian Harman, Bubba Watson
Group 16: Brooks Koepka, Shane Lowry, Harold Varner III, Erik van Rooyen

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