PGA Preview – WGC Dell Match Play, Groupings, Odds, TV Schedule
by Kent Whitaker Scores & Statson
You can call it a Masters warmup or peek at the PGA Championship if you wish. But the Dell Match Play stop on the PGA Tour schedule has turned into a big event as have all of the World Golf Championship (WGC) tournaments. The Dell has the feel of a Major but with a select group of players. Topping that list is Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson both at +1000.
Both McIlroy and Johnson are past winners of the Austin, Texas event. Johnson won in 2017 and McIlroy won the event in 2015. The difference is that McIlroy’s win came before the tournament moved from San Fransico to Texas where it’s been played since 2016. Here are the top-five favored players according to oddsmakers at Intertops.
The name missing from the above list is last years Dell Champion Bubba Watson who is listed well below the favorites at +3300. Watson is coming off an impressive run for the win last week at the Valspar but said he’s not a big fan of Match Play events.
“I vote every year not to have Match Play because I feel like I have a better chance in 72 holes than I do in individual (matches),” Watson said at Innisbrook. “Because we have seen every year a guy shoot in the 60s and lose, and then we see a guy shoot in the 70s and win. And it’s like, wait a second, how fair is this?”
In case you didn’t know, the format is a seeded one that can be compared to a “round robin” tournament where players are seeded in groups. Watson is a 15 seed which makes him the top player in his group. Speaking of which, onto the groupings!
Dell Match Play Groupings
The Dell Match Play groups are highlighted by the top-sixteen seeded players according to their rank on the Official World Golf Rankings. That player is the first player listed in each group. Then, the remaining three players for each group are randomly filled in using numbered ping-pong balls.
• No. 1 Dustin Johnson, No. 24 Hideki Matsuyama, No. 40 Branden Grace, No. 55 Chez Reavie • No. 2 Justin Rose, No. 22 Gary Woodland, No. 34 Eddie Pepperell, No. 53 Emiliano Grillo • No. 3 Brooks Koepka, 27 Alex Noren, 36 Haotong Li, No. 60 Tom Lewis • No. 4 Rory McIlroy, No. 32 Matthew Fitzpatrick, No. 47 Justin Harding, No. 64 Luke List • No. 5 Justin Thomas, No. 31 Keegan Bradley, No. 33 Matt Wallace, No. 50 Lucas Bjerregaard • No. 6 Bryson DeChambeau, No. 17 Marc Leishman, No. 39 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, No. 59 Russell Knox • No. 7 Francesco Molinari, No. 21 Webb Simpson, No. 45 Thorbjorn Olesen, No. 63 Satoshi Kodaira • No. 8 Jon Rahm, No. 23 Matt Kuchar, No. 43 J.B. Holmes, No. 54 Si Woo Kim • No. 9 Xander Schauffele, No. 29 Rafa Cabrera-Bello, No. 35 Tyrrell Hatton, No. 62 Lee Westwood • No. 10 Paul Casey, No. 25 Cameron Smith, No. 42 Charles Howell III, No. Abraham Ancer • No. 11 Tommy Fleetwood, No. 19 Louis Oosthuizen, No. 41 Kyle Stanley, No. 49 Byeong Hun An • No. 12 Jason Day, No. 20 Phil Mickelson, No. 37 Henrik Stenson, No. 52 Jim Furyk • No. 13 Tiger Woods, No. 18 Patrick Cantlay, No. 44 Brandt Snedeker, No. 61 Aaron Wise • No. 14 Tony Finau, No. 30 Ian Poulter, No. 48 Kevin Kisner, No. 56 Keith Mitchell • No. 15 Bubba Watson, No. 28 Jordan Spieth, No. 38 Billy Horschel, No. • No. 16 Patrick Reed, No. 26 Sergio Garcia, No. 46 Shane Lowry, No. 51 Andrew Putnam
Past Winners a Factor?
Tiger Woods leads the list of past winners of this event with three. However, all of them came before the event moved to Austin. If you are a person that factors in past wins at an event then this one will be tricky! It’s been played in four different states and two different countries. The 2001 tournament was played in Australia and the events in Arizona from 2007 to 2014 were split between two different courses. Here’s how the past winner's list looks with city and year.
Jason Day (2)
San Fransico, CA
Geoff Ogilvy (2)
Tiger Woods (3)
Tiger Woods (2)
Austin Country Club by the Numbers
The Austin Country Club is located in Austin, Texas and is considered one of the premier courses in the state. The original club was founded in the 1800s but has moved three times with the current location being used since 1984. The course was designed by Pete Dye and has been updated a few times since it originally opened.
The course is everything you can imagine when it comes to combining the layout of a wild west movie set, complete with canyons and cliffs, with a perfectly manicured golf course. Several holes play over gullies and canyons filled with wild scrub plants. Beautiful grass off the tee, deep canyon, beautiful grass in the distant landing zones.
Then, switch play to gently rolling terrain as you would find at any high-end course, then switch to tight fairways lined by ponds and the waters of Lake Austin. Dye has managed to work just about every conceivable hazard into his design without making the course unplayable. In fact, the setting is mostly a mind game as the visual of hitting over a canyon may get under the skin of weekend players. But PGA Pros should not have a problem. Mid-irons and approach shots that stick on greens will be a key factor.
Founded: 1899, Modern Course Location 1984 Designer: Pete Dye Yardage: 7,108 Par: 72 Rating: 75.2 Slope: 152 Greens: Bermuda Fairways: Bent Grass, Bermuda
TV Coverage for 2019 Dell Match Play
• Wednesday: PGA Tour Live (10:15 a.m.-8 p.m.); Golf Channel (2-8 p.m.) • Thursday: PGA Tour Live (10:15 a.m.-8 p.m.); Golf Channel (2-8 p.m.) • Friday: PGA Tour Live (10:15 a.m.-8 p.m.); Golf Channel (2-8 p.m.) • Saturday: Round of 16, Golf Channel and PGA Tour Live (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) • Saturday: Quarterfinals, NBC (2-6 p.m.) • Sunday: Semifinals, Golf Channel (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) • Sunday: Championship and Consolation Matches, NBC (3-7 p.m.)