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BlogWGC Match Play Preview and Picks

WGC-Dell Match Play Championship

March 23rd – 27th, 2016

Austin Country Club

Austin, Texas

Par: 71 / Yardage:

Purse: $9.5 million

with $1,620,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Rory McIlroy

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

Dell Match Play Daily Fantasy Golf Blog

Check out our Dell Match Play fantasy golf blog in which we want to try and do is give fantasy golf players a better way of getting inside information on players.  It’s also a must to go see since this preview and picks were done before the groupings and pairings were done.  So we will be able to update this preview and picks list with this blog.

We are also introducing a new feature, called Sal’s Fantasy Golf Chat. It’s a page on Facebook in which I want to get everyone involved with discussing Fantasy Golf.  I want it to be a home for you to freely discuss your picks, thoughts on players and anything that has to do with professional tournaments.
So we have created a this special section for you to join, it’s at hit this link and I am hoping you will join us all.  This will be as much a viewer section as a product of GOLFstats, so we hope to make this a great experience for all.

Looking forward to you all joining,
Thanks

Sal

——————————————————————————————————————-

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 64 of the top 66 in the latest Official World Rankings, with only #7 Henrik Stenson and #16 Jim Furyk not playing.

The field includes only 20 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2016.  Those players not in the field are #16 Kevin Chappell, #21 Jason Bohn, #22 Charles Howell III, #24 K.J. Choi and #25 Jamie Lovemark

The field includes 20 players in the top 25 on this year’s PGA Tour money list.  Those players not in the field are #20 Kevin Chappell, #21 Vaughn Taylor, #22 Jason Bohn, #24 Charles Howell III and #25 Peter Malnati

The field includes just 3 past champions: Matt Kuchar (2013), Jason Day (2014) and Rory McIlory (2015).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship field is our performance chart listed by average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

**NOTE**

One thing to look for is our new GOLFstats IQ.  For those that play in fantasy golf it’s a perfect way to help you pick those players in Draft Kings and Victiv games.  You can customize the list of those in the tournaments, to look back a couple or many years of tournament stats and you can go back a couple or ten weeks prior to the tournament.  On top of that, all the stats are fully sortable to help you pick your six players, we even give you their value for the week to help you chose.

That’s GOLFstats IQ, give it a try and tell us what you think of it

24/7 GOLF

How would you like to have Total Golf Knowledge At Your Fingertips??

We have the perfect solution for you.  If you own a Iphone or a Ipad we have developed a perfect app called 24/7 GOLF.

It gives you everything that you need to know about golf, you have all the players results and every tournament result, again at your fingertips.  It’s very easy to use and you can take a good amout of GOLFstats with you everyplace.  No need to get home and check things out on your computer at home, you can answer any question with your Ipad.

So check it out, just hit this link to get 24/7 GOLF:

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Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship

Player Arnold Palmer Indian Open Valspar Thailand Classic WGC-Cadillac Honda Classic Handa Perth Northern Trust Malaysian Open AT&T Pebble Tshwane Open Phoenix Open Dubai Desert
Adam Scott
(390.67 pts)
T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(198)
Win
(88)
DNP T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Charl Schwartzel
(272.83 pts)
DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP T45
(3.33)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP
Bubba Watson
(250 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(150)
DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T70
(0)
DNP T14
(12)
DNP
Louis Oosthuizen
(219 pts)
DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP T14
(54)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Danny Willett
(210.33 pts)
DNP DNP T22
(28)
DNP T3
(135)
DNP DNP DNP T45
(3.33)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
Jason Day
(198.5 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(40.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP DNP DNP
Phil Mickelson
(193.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 5
(105)
T37
(8.67)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP T11
(13)
DNP
Rory McIlroy
(191.33 pts)
T27
(23)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(135)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T6
(20)
Justin Rose
(157.17 pts)
T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP
Hideki Matsuyama
(149.17 pts)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T35
(22.5)
WD
(-3.33)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(44)
DNP
Rickie Fowler
(148.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T8
(75)
T6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP
Paul Casey
(139.5 pts)
T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP 7
(82.5)
T43
(4.67)
DNP T39
(7.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Anirban Lahiri
(139.33 pts)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP T28
(33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T39
(7.33)
DNP DNP DNP T33
(5.67)
DNP
Bill Haas
(128.17 pts)
DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP T49
(1.5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Ryan Moore
(123 pts)
T74
(0)
DNP 3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 10
(26.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T11
(13)
DNP
Andy Sullivan
(121.83 pts)
T27
(23)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(49.5)
T26
(16)
DNP T68
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
Sergio Garcia
(118.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(58.5)
2
(66.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jimmy Walker
(114 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 6
(90)
T43
(4.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP DNP DNP
Dustin Johnson
(113.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(54)
DNP DNP 4
(53.33)
DNP T41
(6)
DNP DNP DNP
Marc Leishman
(112.67 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP T28
(33)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Smylie Kaufman
(111.67 pts)
T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP T8
(75)
T37
(8.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Justin Thomas
(111.17 pts)
DNP DNP T18
(32)
DNP T35
(22.5)
T3
(60)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Marcus Fraser
(108 pts)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP DNP 60
(0)
DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(101.17 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(58.5)
DNP DNP DNP T36
(9.33)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
Matt Kuchar
(95.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T11
(39)
DNP T28
(33)
DNP DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jordan Spieth
(94.17 pts)
DNP DNP T18
(32)
DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T21
(19.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Brooks Koepka
(92.83 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T23
(40.5)
T26
(16)
DNP DNP DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP T41
(3)
DNP
Charley Hoffman
(88.5 pts)
DNP DNP T11
(39)
DNP T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP T63
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T51
(0)
DNP
Patrick Reed
(88.33 pts)
DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP T52
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(40)
DNP DNP DNP
Billy Horschel
(85.5 pts)
T20
(30)
DNP DNP DNP 41
(13.5)
T8
(33.33)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(8.67)
DNP
Jason Dufner
(83.17 pts)
DNP DNP T22
(28)
DNP T11
(58.5)
T61
(0)
DNP T68
(0)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Thomas Pieters
(80 pts)
76
(0)
DNP DNP 3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Zach Johnson
(79.83 pts)
5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP T47
(4.5)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(12)
DNP
J.B. Holmes
(72 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 59
(0)
DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP T6
(20)
DNP
Daniel Berger
(58.67 pts)
DNP DNP T11
(39)
DNP T28
(33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T58
(0)
DNP
Graeme McDowell
(56.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T28
(33)
5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Bernd Wiesberger
(52 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(54)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
Chris Wood
(52 pts)
T20
(30)
DNP DNP DNP T42
(12)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
Shane Lowry
(48.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T35
(22.5)
T53
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T41
(6)
DNP T6
(20)
DNP
Branden Grace
(46.83 pts)
DNP DNP T37
(13)
DNP T23
(40.5)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship

Player Arnold Palmer Indian Open Valspar Thailand Classic WGC-Cadillac Honda Classic Handa Perth Northern Trust Malaysian Open AT&T Pebble Tshwane Open Phoenix Open Dubai Desert
Fabian Gomez
(-16.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP 58
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T45
(3.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
David Lingmerth
(-8.5 pts)
T63
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T49
(1.5)
T53
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Martin Kaymer
(-8 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T42
(12)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Victor Dubuisson
(-6.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Lee Westwood
(-3.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Matt Jones
(2.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T11
(26)
DNP T60
(0)
DNP
Thorbjorn Olesen
(3.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
Robert Streb
(3.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T52
(0)
T26
(16)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T37
(4.33)
DNP
Brandt Snedeker
(22.17 pts)
T36
(14)
DNP DNP DNP WD
(-7.5)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T35
(10)
DNP T33
(5.67)
DNP
Jaco Van Zyl
(26.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP DNP
Kevin Kisner
(27.17 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T23
(40.5)
T70
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Thongchai Jaidee
(29.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(36)
DNP DNP DNP DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Danny Lee
(30.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP WD
(-5)
DNP T42
(12)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP 4
(26.67)
DNP
Patton Kizzire
(33 pts)
DNP DNP T33
(17)
DNP DNP T26
(16)
DNP T52
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP
Matthew Fitzpatrick
(33.83 pts)
T27
(23)
DNP DNP DNP T35
(22.5)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T45
(1.67)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

Two years ago when Jason Day beat Victor Dubuisson on the fifth extra hole, the Dell Match Play had a lot of problems.  The biggest was their sponsor, Accenture, who was leaving which created a problem for the World Federation in securing another one.  Next was the venue, Dove Mountain was barley tolerable but did have a Ritz Carlton for the sponsors but Tucson wasn’t the draw that many thought it would be.  The course wasn’t a favorite of many except for Ian Poulter, Matt Kuchar, Nick Watney, Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan who made that site an annuity for them.  It became a disadvantage for many and even though they didn’t say it, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott took a pass.  Many cited the fact that this event should be moved around so that it didn’t give a group of players an advantage each year but let’s face the one ton gorilla and that was the format.  For most pure Match Play in which if you lose you go home was not a big winner with players, fans, TV and the media.  The sight of half of your marquee names going home on Wednesday didn’t help matters either.  In the 16 years of the tournament you never had that one great final with the number one ranked player against the number two.  Even with Tiger Woods making it to the final match four times, it was against Darren Clarke (who beat him), David Toms, Davis Love III and Stewart Cink.  Guess we should of seen this when the very first final match in 1999 pitted superstars Jeff Maggert and Andrew Magee.

So when Day finally beat Dubuisson on the fifth extra hole it put an exclamation point onto this event.  Many felt that the event would not continue, which was wrong thinking.  But with Accenture out of the picture, the contract with Dove Mountain finished it was time to reevaluate everything about the Match Play Championship.  It took a bit but a stop-gap sponsor in Cadillac was found and the event moved dates to late April and the venue was Harding Park in San Francisco.  That move was more of a way to appease the city of San Francisco who had a contract with the PGA Tour to play a number of events over a long period of time.  Still Harding Park, which held the 2009 Presidents Cup and 2005 WGC-American Express Championship was a site that people could embrace.  But the most important element that those that ran the championship did was change the format.

It was still match play but no more single elimination matches the first three days, the field was broken up into 16, four-player groups and over the first three days everyone played the other three men in their group and the player with the best record in each group advanced to the Round of 16.  From there the event went back to single elimination match play but the focus was that all 64 players were around three days so that fans and TV had three great days of action.

The format worked, after Friday’s play marquee names like Rickie Fowler, Hideki Matsuyama, Charl Schwartzel, Lee Westwood, Paul Casey, Jim Furyk and Rory McIlroy were still playing.  McIlroy went on to win which helped verify that the format worked.

When the sun set that Sunday in San Francisco the Match play championship was brought back from the dead.  The crowds were good and enthusiastic, weather was great and the golf was spectacular but the one negative was the course, Harding Park is very boring and not a great course for Match Play.  This had been the biggest problem with the Match Play championship as the previous four courses that held it along with Harding didn’t give the excitement and challenges to the championship.  Still there was a lot of excitement with some of the changes that came out of San Francisco.  First was a new sponsor, as Dell computer would be the title sponsor, signing on through 2019.  Along with Dell and new location and venue was named, Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas.

When it was announced not many folks knew about Austin Country Club other than legendary teaching professional was the club’s resident instructor for over 70 years before his death in 1995.  Another thing was that the club, which was founded in 1899, built a new course in 1984 and hired Pete Dye to do the course.  Because the course is ultra private not many knew how wonderful the course really was.  Last year when the course was announced as the new home of the Match Play for the next three years, it closed for ten months as renovations were done to bring the course up to standards of the modern player.

In examining the course with all of it’s changes it’s very easy to say that the World Golf Federation has done the right thing with it’s move and that they couldn’t pick a better venue for this championship, as we will explain.  So after 17 years we can say that all the pieces are finally in the bag to make this a really super week of golf.

Tournament information:

This will be the 18th World Golf Championship – Dell Match Play championship.  Austin Country Club is the sixth different course to hold this championship. Last year TPC Harding Park held the event for one year. The previous home was the Golf Club at Dove Mountain for six years and before that the Gallery Golf Club held it for two years, before that the LaCosta Spa and Resort, which held the 1999, 2000, 2002 through 2006 events. In 2001 the Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia was the venue.

Course information:

Austin Country Club

  • Austin, Texas
  • 7,073 yards     Par 35-36–71
  • Course has a 75.2 rating and slope rating of 152 fron the championship tees. Austin Country Club is a private club eight miles northwest of downtown Austin.  The club was formed in 1899 and the first course was nine holes with sand greens.  It’s believed that the course and club was the first of its kind organized in Texas.  The course grew to 18 holes but in 1949 was deemed to be too small so the club moved to east Austin and had Perry Maxwell build them a new course.  This would be the course where Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw would spend so many hours under the watchful eye of Harvey Penick. The Club remained at the Riverside Drive location until 1984, at which time the decision was made to move to the current Davenport Ranch location in the hills of west Austin.
  • Dye was chosen to create the new course and was given 180 acres of diverse terrain that goes from golf in the hills weaving through canyons and woodlands and then juts out to the lowlands that has a river border one side of the course.  So there are different natural features to every one of the holes making it a delight.  You will see a touch of TPC at Sawgrass, Blackwolf Run and Oak Tree Country Club to name some courses that have held professional events on.
  • More importantly the course isn’t very long and will have a lot of risk and reward type of shots, the kind that will make for great Match Play golf.  All of the par 5s will be reachable and the 12th will be the favorite, as water from the river runs the final 150 yards on the left of the hole, goes right up along the left of the green and beyond the green.  So we will see a lot of drama as players decide to go for the green and the shot that will take to get on.  The next hole plays with water in front of the green and all along the left side.  Since the hole plays 317 yards it will challenge players to take driver out and go for it, only problem the player has to hold a driver on the green which makes the shot almost impossible.   But players will still try to get it close.
  • As for the par 3s, all of them are great from the shortest the 145 yard, 17th to the longest, the 198 yard, 7th.  All have a safe shot to the middle of the green, but again for match play with the greens tucked away in front of water, bunkers and ravines, it creates a perfect match play scenario.  That will be the key to the course, it’s perfect for match play.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship:

Key stat for the winner:

On the PGA Tour, there are some players that look more at a big check instead of playing to win.  These players are dangerous in match play because they have only one thing to think about, winning.  So in some respects this year’s 15 Dell rookies (Byeong-Hun An, Daniel Berger, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Fabian Gomez, Emiliano Grillo, Smylie Kaufman, Kevin Kisner, Patton Kizzire, Russell Knox, Danny Lee, David Lingmerth, Thomas Pieters, Robert Streb, Justin Thomas and Jaco Van Zyl) have just as much of a chance as Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson or Justin Rose.  Just look at what happened in 2014, Jordan Spieth made it to the quarter-finals while Victor Dubuisson made it to the finals.  Just look at what happened to Tiger Woods in 2002 when he got beat in the first round by Peter O’Malley or even in 2013 when Charles Howell III beat him on Wednesday.  So don’t think that just because Jordan Spieth, who was the number one draw is a better player than the 64th draw Thornbjorn Olesen.  When you see some pairings of a superstar against a lesser name player like Thomas Pieters or Marcus Fraser on paper the match looks like David verses Goliath.  We all know what happened in that story it’s happened before and will happen in years to come.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • We have no real history of players at Austin Country Club.  Now Jordan Spieth has played the course more than anybody else but Jason Dufner and Jimmy Walker have also played it.  Both played it earlier in the year on a windy day so they know the extreme of it.  So everyone starts with a clean slate on Wednesday with nobody having a home field advantage like Ian Poulter, Matt Kuchar, Nick Watney, Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan had at Dove Mountain for all those years.
  • Match play is a rare format on the PGA Tour.  Even though it’s the game that is played regularly in golf clubs around the world, its not played that much on the PGA Tour.  The secret to winning in match play is not playing the best, but, more importantly, avoiding doing the wrong thing at the wrong time.  In a lot of matches someone could be striking the ball perfectly and putting well while his opponent could be hitting it all around the lot, missing greens, but chipping in for halves on holes.  Before you know it that match could come down to the final hole and the player that isn’t doing the best could chip in and win a match.  It happens all the time.  Remember a score doesn’t mean anything in match play.
  • This is also a different format.  Just because you lose that first round match on the 20th hole doesn’t mean like previous years that you were on a plane home that night.  You still have two more matches and could all of a sudden find your game and find yourselve winning your group.  So it’s really important to take each match at one time and not worry if your playing poorly early.  A prefect example of this was October of 2014 at the Volvo World Match Play Championship in London.  Mikko Ilonen lost his first match to Joost Luiten 1 down.  He won the remaining matches in his group and then won the rest of his matches beating Henrik Stenson in the finals.  Last year with the new format, Tommy Fleetwood lost to Sergio Garcia in his first match, but won his last two matches and advanced to the Quarter-finals.  Hey, Jim Furyk lost his second match but still made it to the semi-finals.
  • So anything can happen in this format.
  • A couple of things that can help you pick a winner is to look at those with good match play records.  Past winners of the U.S. Amateur like Ryan Moore and Phil Mickelson know how to win in this format so they have a bit of an advantage. Also look at how strong Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia have been in the Ryder Cup. Those that have won other match play events like Graeme McDowell, Paul Casey and Kiradech Aphibarnrat who won the Paul Lawrie Match Play on the European Tour last August, those that do well in playoffs or with leads.
  • Also look at players with good single records in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. Players like Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson and Patrick Reed.  Also players that have been doing well of late like Jason Day, Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel should do well this week.
  • In the past the most difficult place to pick winners was the first round.  You were a superstar if you picked 70% of them right.  Now the first round means nothing, so look for more marquee players dominating the first three days and getting into the round of 16 on Saturday morning.  Again seeds mean nothing anymore.

Some secrets to playing at Austin Country Club:

  • Austin Country Club will be perfect for match play because the course isn’t long, it’s not very tight and the greens are generous.  But with new changes there are a lot of bunkers in the fairways that will catch wayward drives.  Making the bunkers hard, they are deep and could be impossible to get to the green.  Also lot’s of hazards to avoid and you will see a lot of them if you are going for a tight pin position.  In some ways hitting first to the green you control what your opponent will do based on your shot.  If you can put pressure on him he will lose holes.  But if you don’t hit the perfect shot and get yourself in trouble, it makes it easy for your opponent to hit the middle of the green and make par to win the hole.
  • Weather will also play a key.  It’s been very wet the last couple of weeks in Texas, so the course could be soft and easy.  In looking at the long range forecast the forecast is dry Wednesday through Saturday but it will be very windy on Wednesday and Thursday.  This will dry out the course and as many people that have played the course say, in the wind the course is a bear and will be tough.  Again you create your own storyline in this format, you can control your own destiny in tough weather.  Let the other player make the mistakes, not you.
  • Greens have a lot of undulations which Harding Park didn’t have.  Good putters and scramblers will help a player savage his match.
  • Driving will be a key.  Just like at Augusta National, you have to place a drive in a good spot to have a good shot to the green.  The length is short, but if you don’t place your drives in the right spot it will be hard to get close on your shot to the green.  So a straight driver will have an advantage over a long hitter this week.

Who to watch for at the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship

Best Bets:

Jordan Spieth

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T17 T5

Good putters always have an edge in Match Play, he also has played more at Austin C.C. than any other player in the field.

Jason Day

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T52 Win 3 T17 T9

Has a good record in match play, the only tough thing for him is winning early, last year he stumbled and lost all three of his matches, that won’t happen again.

Phil Mickelson

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T17 T9 T17 T17 T9 T9 T5

This is the week for him to shine, yes he hasn’t played in this event since 2011 but he is great at match play and his experience will help him with this course.

Best of the rest:

Rory McIlroy

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
Win T17 T33 2 T17 T17 T5

Talk about being inconsistent, he was Jeckel and Hyde at Bay Hill. Doesn’t matter, he can get away with it at this event, he showed how tough he could be at Match Play last year in San Francisco.

Bubba Watson

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T17 T9 T9 T17 4

He may be playing the best of anyone on tour of late and does well in match play. The big question mark is if his game will jive with this course, it could be tough for him.

Adam Scott

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T52 T33 T33 T33 T17 T33 T17 T33 T17 T5 T9

Has a terrible record in this event, have to chalk it up on the courses. Austin is perfect for him game so I can see him doing a lot better.

Rickie Fowler

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T9 3 T33 T33 T9

He loves this format and is very tough to beat. Only question is if his game will do well on this course.

Solid contenders

Paul Casey

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T5 T17 2 2 T9 T5 T33 T33 T33

Has a very, very good record in match play and this is a course he can thrive on.

Justin Rose

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T17 T17 T17 T33 T17 T33 T33 T5 T33

Another person that has a terrible record in this event, he could change it around this week on a course he should like.

Hideki Matsuyama

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T9 T17

Can’t forget about him, he could do very well on this course.

Graeme McDowell

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T52 T5 T5 T33 T9 T33 T33 T33 T17

A very good match player, his game could go a long way on this course.

Matt Kuchar

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T34 T9 Win T5 3 T17

Has done well in this event, also see him liking Austin Country Club.

Long shots that could come through:

Danny Willett

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
3

Watch him, he got to Sunday last year and could do it again this year.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
T33

Was a winner in a match play event on the European Tour last August.

Matthew Fitzpatrick

2016 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04
First time playing in this event

This kid can really play and this week could surprise a lot of folks on him.

Comments

  1. Douglas S says:

    The Daily Fantasy on Draft Kings is in Puerto Rico this week. Any chance we could get a quick summary of the course and traits, without necessarily too much detail?

  2. Douglas S says:

    You were a step ahead of me!

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