WGC Dell Match Play Preview

WGC Dell Match Play Preview

Where: Austin Country Club, Austin, Texas
Par/Yards: 35-36–71/7,108
Field: Top 64 available players from the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as of March 12, 2018. These 64 players are then seeded by their ranking based on their position in the OWGR on Monday, March 19, 2018. Five players in the top-64 of the Official World Golf Ranking are not competing – Justin Rose (5), Rickie Fowler (7), Brooks Koepka (8), Henrik Stenson (15) and Adam Scott (56). The next five available players include Kevin Na (65), Charles Howell III (66), Joost Luiten (67), Keegan Bradley (68) and Luke List (69).
Format: Match play (hole-by-hole competition)
Defending Champion: Dustin Johnson (United States)
Purse: $10,000,000; Winner’s Share: $1,700,000
FedExCup: 550 points to the winner
Facebook: www.facebook.com/dellmatchplay
Twitter: @DellMatchPlay
Instagram: @DellMatchPlay

Seeding Players

  • A random draw will be live on Golf Channel from 6:30-8 p.m. CT as part of the Dell Technologies Match Play Live Bracket Special on Monday, March 19, at the Hotel Van Zandt in downtown Austin.
  • Players in the field were according to their position on the Official World Ranking as of Monday, March 19. The highest ranked player in the field is No. 1, and the lowest ranked player in the field is No. 64.
  • Players are then placed into four pools of 16 players.
    • 1-16/Pool A
    • 17-32/Pool B
    • 33-48/Pool C
    • 49-64/Pool D
  • The top 16 ranked players in the world will head 16 groups of four players each.
  • The No. 1 seed is the top player in Group 1, No. 2 seed is the top player in Group 2 and so on.
  • Each of the groups headed by the top 16 ranked players will have their respective groups filled out by randomly selecting them from three pools of players; Pool B (players ranked 17-32), Pool C (players ranked 33-48) and Pool D (players ranked 49-64).
  • For example, No. 1 Dustin Johnson will be grouped with one player from 17-34, 33-48 and 49-64.

Competition Format

  • The 64-player Dell Technologies Match Play will utilize Group Play (or Round Robin) Matches with the field divided into 16 four-player groups.
  • The 18-hole matches will be played to either a conclusion, or a halve, with matches not extending beyond 18 holes until Friday.
  • Points are awarded to players based on results of each match as follows:
    • Winner 1 point
    • Loser 0 point
    • Halved each player ½ point
  • The player in each group with the highest point total at the end of group play advances to the 16-player, single-elimination matches.
  • In the event three or more players in a group are equal with the highest point totals, a stroke play hole-by-hole playoff on holes 1 through 18 in sequence will determine the player that advances to the 16-player, single-elimination matches.
  • If only two players in the group are tied, match play will be the format used to determine the playoff winner.
  • Wednesday, Round 1 – 32 matches (64 players)
  • Thursday, Round 2 – 32 matches (64 players)
  • Friday, Round 3 – 32 matches (64 players)
  • Round 4 – Saturday morning – Eight matches (16 players) – winners advance to round 5/quarter-final matches. Matches all square after 18 holes in round 4 extended on holes 10 through 18 and repeated if necessary.
  • Round 5 – Saturday afternoon – Four quarter-final matches (eight players) – winners advance to round 6 /semi-final matches. Matches all square after 18 holes in round 5 are extended on holes 12 through 18 and repeated if necessary.
  • Round 6 – Sunday morning – Two semi-final matches (four players) – winners advance to the Championship Match, losers advance to the Consolation Match. Matches all square after 18 holes in round 6 are extended on holes 12 through 18 and repeated if necessary.
  • Round 7 – Sunday afternoon – Consolation Match (two players) and Championship Match (two players). Matches all square after 18 holes in rounds 7 are extended on holes 12 through 18 and repeated if necessary.

Austin Country Club

  • Founded in 1899, Austin Country Club is one of the oldest existing clubs in Texas.
  • The club’s current property is located on a challenging Pete Dye-designed golf course built in 1984 with breathtaking views of Lake Austin.
  • This course is the third home for Austin Country Club.
  • With its deep pot bunkers, undulating turf and dramatic fairway falls, the course includes Texas accents added by extensive use of massive limestone slabs, quarried on site, to build revetments for tees, greens and fairways.
  • The front nine and the back nine of the Austin Country Club have been switched for the Dell Technologies Match Play.
  • The holes that will serve as the tournament’s back-nine border on Lake Austin with spectacular views from what is known as the “lowlands nine.”
  • The rest of the course is higher and more typical of the Texas Hill Country.
  • The club has served as home to several of the game’s greats, including World Golf Hall of Famers Harvey Penick, Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw and was designed by World Golf Hall of Famer Pete Dye.

How the 2017 Dell Technologies Match Play was won by Dustin Johnson

  • Johnson became the first player to complete the WGC career slam with his win at the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play for the first time.
  • In last year’s final, Johnson  built a 5-up lead after eight holes, but Rahm won the next two holes with pars.
  • After Johnson won the 12th with a birdie to go 4-up, Rahm hit driver over the water onto the green on the drivable par-4 13th and won the hole with a birdie.
  • On the 15th, Rahm stuck a wedge for another birdie to win the hole, and he won the 16th hole as well with a 30-foot birdie.
  • Heading to the last with a 1-up lead, Johnson two-putted from 30 feet for the par and the victory after Rahm failed to get up and down for birdie from the back of the green.
  • Johnson’s path to victory last year:
    • G1 defeated Webb Simpson (58), 5 and 3;
    • G2 defeated Martin Kaymer (41), 3 and 2;
    • G3 defeated Jimmy Walker (18), 5 and 3;
    • R4 defeated Zach Johnson (44), 5 and 4;
    • QF defeated Alex Noren (8), 3 and 2
    • SF defeated Hideto Tanihara (54), 1-up
    • Championship: defeated Jon Rahm (21), 1-up

More on No. 1 Dustin Johnson (United States)

  • Since winning last year’s Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson added THE NORTHERN TRUST (2017) and Sentry Tournament of Champions (2018) to his resume and now owns 17 PGA TOUR victories. He is the only active player on the PGA TOUR with a victory in each of the last 11 seasons. He’s joins Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods as the only players in PGA TOUR history to post a victory in each of his first 11 seasons.
  • Johnson’s win at the Dell Technologies Match Play last year saw him lead a tournament record 94 percent of the holes he played. In 112 holes played, he never trailed in any match. His victory in Austin was his third consecutive victory after winning the WGC-Mexico Championship and Genesis Open before his win at the Dell Technologies Match Play.
  • With his win last year, Johnson joined Rory McIlroy (2015) and Tiger Woods as the third player to win the Dell Technologies Match Play as a No. 1 seed. Woods won the tournament three times (2008, 2004 and 2003) as the No. 1 seed. Jason Day won the 2016 Dell Technologies Match Play to become the No. 1 player in the world as well.
  • With a victory this year, Johnson would join Tiger Woods as the only players to win the Dell Technologies Match Play in back-to-back years.
  • Johnson, who is currently fourth in the FedExCup standings, has a victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and T2 finishes in only five starts this season.

Justin Thomas (United States)

  • Thomas has won seven of his last 32 starts on the PGA TOUR, including two victories during the 2017-18 PGA TOUR season. The reigning FedExCup champion has eight top-25s in eight starts this year, including two victories and two additional top-10s.
  • At the recent WGC-Mexico Championship, Thomas holed a 120-yard wedge on the 72nd hole to force a playoff with Phil Mickelson before falling in the playoff with a bogey. Thomas’ weekend total of 16-under par in Mexico tied the all-time weekend record on the PGA TOUR after he went 62-64 to close.
  •  In his first two appearances at the Dell Technologies Match Play, Thomas has failed to advance out of the group stage the last two years at Austin Country Club, with a 1-5-0 record.

Phil Mickelson (United States)

  • Mickelson, owner of 43 career PGA TOUR victories, ended the longest drought of his career with a win at the WGC-Mexico Championship in early March, becoming the oldest-ever winner of a WGC event.Mickelson outlasted Justin Thomas on the first playoff hole for his first victory since the 2013 Open Championship, a drought stretching nearly five years and 101 tournaments.
  • In 13 appearances at the Dell Technologies Match Play, Mickelson has never advanced to the semifinals or championship match. In 2017, he advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to Bill Haas (2&1).
  • Mickelson owns five top-five finishes, including a victory, in eight starts this season and is third in the FedExCup standings.

Jordan Spieth (United States)

  • In four prior appearances at the Dell Technologies Match Play, Spieth is yet to advance past the quarterfinals.
  • His best appearance came in his inaugural effort in 2014 with a loss in the quarterfinals.
  • Spieth’s record at the Dell Technologies Match Play is 9-4-1, but he failed to advance out of the group stage a year ago after going 1-1-1.
  • Spieth played collegiately at the University of Texas.

Jon Rahm (Spain)

  • In his first appearance at the Dell Technologies Match Play, Jon Rahm advanced to the Championship Match with six consecutive victories before falling 1-down to Dustin Johnson.
  • Rahm needed only 90 holes a year ago to advance to the Championship Match, four less holes than Johnson.
  • Rahm’s 7 and 5 victory over Soren Kjeldsen tied the largest margin of victory of any match in 2017.

Paul Casey (England)

  • In his last start at the Valspar Championship, Casey posted a 6-under 65 in the final round for his second career PGA TOUR victory and first since the 2009 Shell Houston Open.
  • Casey beat Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods by one shot.
  • Casey has two runner-ups at the Dell Technologies Match Play after falling in the Championship Match in back-to-back years.
  • In 2009, he fell 4 and 3 to Geoff Ogilvy in the Championship Match.
  • In his second consecutive year in the Championship Match in 2010, he fell 4 and 2 to fellow Englishman Ian Poulter in the final match.

Jason Day (Australia)

  • Day had to withdraw a year ago due to his mother’s health-related situation, forcing him to go 0-3, bringing his career match-play record to 21-9-0.
  • Day, the 2014 and 2016 champion, is one of just three multiple winners of the Dell Technologies Match Play along with three-time winner Tiger Woods (2003, 2004 and 2008) and two-time winner Geoff Ogilvy (2006, 2009). He is one of just nine international born winners of the Dell Technologies Match Play and one of two Australians.
  • Day’s 5-and-4 victory in the 2016 Championship Match over Louis Oosthuizen was the largest margin of victory in a championship match since Stewart Cink’s 8-and-7 victory in 2008. The Championship Match was 36 holes in 2008.

Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland)

  • McIlroy enters the week fresh off his victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, where the Ulsterman carded five birdies over his final six holes for a 64 to capture his 14th career PGA TOUR title and first since the 2016 TOUR Championship.
  • McIlroy will look to join 2016 champion Day in winning at Bay Hill before going on to win at Austin Country Club the next week.
  • McIlroy and Ian Poulter have won more matches (23) at the Dell Technologies Match Play than any other player in the field. Tiger Woods (33) and David Toms (24) have won the most matches in tournament history.
  • In nine prior appearances at the Dell Technologies Match Play, McIlroy has advanced to at least the semifinals three times with a victory in 2015, runner-up in 2012, and fourth-place finish in 2016 after losing to the eventual champion Jason Day.
  • The 14-time PGA TOUR winner has two prior World Golf Championships victories, having won the 2014 Bridgestone Invitational and 2015 Dell Technologies Match Play (TPC Harding Park).
  • McIlroy’s 2015 victory made him the youngest winner of the Dell Technologies Match Play in tournament history, winning at age 25 years, 11 months, and 29 days.

Dylan Frittelli (South Africa)

  • The 27-year-old former Texas Longhorn turned professional in 2012 after the 2012 NCAA Championship.
  • Frittelli was part of the national championship winning team at Texas in 2012 with Jordan Spieth and helped secure the victory with a 30-foot putt on the 18th hole to clinch a 3-2 victory over Alabama.
  • He won his first European Tour event at the 2017 Lyoness Open.
  • At the end of the season, he was runner-up in the Turkish Airlines Open and tied for fourth in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, both Rolex Series events.
  • He finished 19th in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
  • In December of 2017, Frittelli won the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, beating Arjun Atwal in the first hole of a playoff.
  • Frittelli has four prior career PGA TOUR starts: 2017 The Open (MC), 2017 PGA Championship (T63), 2018 The Honda Classic (11) and 2018 WGC-Mexico Championship (T55)
  • Frittelli is one of three former Longhorns in the field this week.

Matt Kuchar (United States)

  • When Matt Kuchar, the 1997 U.S. Amateur champion, won the 2013 Dell Technologies Match Play by a 2 and 1 margin over Hunter Mahan, he joined Tiger Woods as the only players to have both championships on their resume. Woods owns three of each – the U.S. Amateur in 1994, ’95 and ’96 and the Dell Technologies Match Play in 2003, ’04 and ’08.
  • Four U.S. Amateur champions, including Kuchar, are in this year’s field seeking to replicate the double he achieved in 1997 (Matthew Fitzpatrick/2013, Peter Uihlein/2010 and Phil Mickelson/1990).

Jhonattan Vegas (Venezuela)

  • Jhonattan Vegas knew very little English when he first arrived in Texas from Venezuela to live with his coach, Franci Betancourt, who was a three-time World Cup participant for Venezuela, in 1966, 1968 and 1975. His golf game and his English improved dramatically while he and his brother Julio played for the University of Texas.
  • In Vegas’ first appearance at the Dell Technologies Match Play a year ago, he failed to advance out of the group stage despite a 2-1-0 record.
  • In eight seasons on the PGA TOUR, Vegas has three career victories. In 10 starts this season, Vegas has posted eight made cuts with a T7 at the Sentry Tournament of Champions as his best finish. He is ranked 65th in the FedExCup standings
  • There are 19 countries represented in the 64-player field with the United States leading the way with 31 players in the field.
  • England will be represented by six players, while Japan and South Africa each have four players in the field. Australia (3) and Spain (3) each have multiple players in the field.

First-Timers Information

  • 16 players are set to make first appearance at the Dell Technologies Match Play — Brian Harman, Xander Schauffele, Tony Finau, Patrick Cantlay, Haotong Li, Satoshi Kodaira, Chez Reavie, Adam Hadwin, Cameron Smith, Dylan Frittelli, Yusaku Miyazato, James Hahn, Peter Uihlein, Shubhankar Sharma, Luke List.
  • Haotong Li is the first player from China to appear in the Dell Technologies Match Play.
  • Adam Hadwin qualified for the Dell Technologies Match Play a year ago with a win at the 2017 Valspar Championship two weeks before, but Hadwin’s wedding was already scheduled for that week. Therefore, he is making his first start at the Dell Technologies Match Play this week.

Miscellaneous Dell Technologies Match Play Notes

  • The three highest-seeded players to win the Dell Match Play are Kevin Sutherland (No. 62 in 2002), Steve Stricker (No. 55 in 2001) and Geoff Ogilvy (No. 52 in 2006).
  • The longest match in the finals of the Dell Technologies Match Play lasted 38 holes (scheduled 36-hole final) when Jeff Maggert defeated Andrew Magee at the La Costa Resort & Spa in 1999.
  • When an 18-hole final was on the schedule (beginning in 2011), the longest match went 23 holes in 2014 when Jason Day defeated Victor Dubuisson at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain.
  • Tiger Woods owns the record for the largest winning margin in the final (scheduled 36 holes) with his 8 and 7 win over Stewart Cink at The Gallery at Dove Mountain in 2008. Jason Day’s 5 and 4 victory in last year’s Championship Match was the largest margin since Woods defeated Cink.
  • Kevin Sutherland (2002) from the United States, Henrik Stenson (2007) from Sweden and Ian Poulter (2010) from England are the only three players who made the Dell Technologies Match Play their maiden PGA TOUR victory.
  • In total, only seven players have made a World Golf Championships event their first PGA TOUR win, with Russell Knox the last to do so with his victory at the 2015 HSBC Champions.
  • Five past champions are in the field this week: Ian Poulter (2010), Matt Kuchar (2013), Jason Day (2014, 2016), Rory McIlroy (2015), and Dustin Johnson (2017).

Community Impact

  • The Dell Technologies Match Play is broadcast to almost 1 billion households in 227 countries and territories in 23 languages outside of the United States.
  • Proceeds from the Dell Technologies Match Play will benefit The First Tee and Austin-based charities Austin Parks Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area, The First Tee of Greater Austin, Helping Hand Home for Children and Keep Austin Beautiful.
  • Dell is dedicated to using the charitable proceeds from the tournament to encourage improved health, wellness, resiliency and academic achievement that will have a measurable and lasting impact on the community’s youth.
  • The Dell Technologies Match Play has generated more than $2.1 million since moving to Austin and more than $17 million for charity since its inception, part of the nearly $60 million raised for global charities since the advent of the World Golf Championships in 1999.

Walter Hagen Cup

  • Each year the Walter Hagen Cup is awarded to the champion of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play. The winner of each of the World Golf Championships is awarded a Wedgwood trophy named after a great international figure in the game. Justin Rose currently holds the Old Tom Morris Cup for his 2017 HSBC Champions victory.
  • Hideki Matsuyama has the Gary Player Cup in his possession after winning the 2017 Bridgestone Invitational.
  • Phil Mickelson has the Gene Sarazen Cup in his possession as the winner of the 2018 Mexico Championship.
  • Hagen was golf’s first full-time touring professional. He won 40 times on the PGA TOUR, including 11 times in major championships.
  • It is appropriate that the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy bears his name as he was perhaps the greatest match player in history. He won five PGA Championships in match play, including four consecutive from 1924-1927.
  • Hagen once won 22 straight 36-hole matches in the PGA and 32 out of 33 matches between the first round in 1921 and the fourth round of 1928.
  • In six Ryder Cup matches, Hagen’s record was 7-1-1. Hagen, an inaugural member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, also won two U.S. Opens and four Open Championships.

VIA PGA TOUR

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