The World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play is ready to return to the tour schedule after being cancelled last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
2019 winner Kevin Kisner returns to defend his title after defeating Matt Kuchar 3 & 2 in the final.
64 players are divided into 16 pods of 4 players constructed from a seeding system based on the official world golf rankings and play a series of round-robin matches.
Players will get 1 point for a win and ½ point for a halved match and only the 16 winners of the pods advance to a single-elimination bracket which culminates on Sunday afternoon with the final, and the always anticlimactic, consolation match.
Course: Austin Country Club
Length: 7.169 yards (Par 71)
Architect: Pete Dye
The only match play tournament on the PGA TOUR returns to Austin Country Club for the 5th straight year.
This is another Pete Dye design, but unlike Sawgrass which the well renown Ohio course architect also designed, the 35-year-old Texas course seems to more favour the long hitters.
This is evident when looking at driving distance of the three first champions; Jason Day (2016) is 10th, Dustin Johnson (2017) 6th and last years champion Bubba Watson is 26th.
But with Kevin Kisner, one of the shorter guys on tour winning in 2019 after coming runner up the year before and Matt Kuchar having a stellar record here its more than one way to skin this cat.
Aggressiveness also seems to be a good trait to possess here, although that has less to do with the course, and more to do with the match play format that rewards risk-taking.
So, why are the mentioned traits important around here?
One reason could be that 5 of the 11 par4’s are under 400 yards, which combined with some of the holes being played severely downhill, makes them an easy target for the grip it and rip it approach.
It’s also worth noting that all the par5’s are between 565-600 yards, meaning some of the shorter hitters will struggle to get on in two unless the wind is favourable.
Here are some of the things I will be looking at/for:
- Strokes gained approach
- Strokes gained off the tee
- Driving distance
- Proximity 100-125 yards
- Bermuda putting
- Birdies or better gained
- Matchplay record
Wagered: +35.61 units
Wagered: 148 units
Won: 352.42 units
Result: 204.42 units
Waste Management: Brooks Koepka 41-1, Genesis Invitational: Max Homa 56-1, The Players Championship: Justin Thomas 19-1
Last time we saw Casey he got us an each-way place at the Players and on a course that suits him well and in a format he has both the experience and the result to show for it we have to go back to the experienced Englishman.
As mentioned, his match play record is stellar with 37 wins to 26 losses in this tournament and the Ryder Cup and you could make a case for him being in the best form of his life with six straight top 12 finishes including a win and the impressive showing to finish T5 at the Players after putting two balls in the water on 17 on Thursday.
His group for the round-robin also looks good with Simpson who has yet to make it out of his group in three tries and no disrespect to Mackenzie Hughes and Talor Gooch but they are some of the weaker spots in this star-studded field.
The Spieth comeback is real and the only thing missing is to now get that winning monkey off his back with both the format and the course set up well for his aggressive if not overpowering style.
As most weeks approach play is the one stat, I weigh the most and Jordan is coming into this week with a whopping 4,5 strokes gained in that category over the past five tournaments.
To add to his good form, the draw was as favourable as he could hope for as a 4th seed with Fitzpatrick and Conners who while in form have their clear weaknesses and a Matthew Wolff who struggled to break 80 the last time, we saw him.
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