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Breaking down the bracket for WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

8 Min Read


PALM HARBOR, FLORIDA - MARCH 18: (L-R) Kevin Kisner of the United States and Justin Thomas of the United States walk the 13th hole during the second round of the Valspar Championship on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club on March 18, 2022 in Palm Harbor, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

PALM HARBOR, FLORIDA - MARCH 18: (L-R) Kevin Kisner of the United States and Justin Thomas of the United States walk the 13th hole during the second round of the Valspar Championship on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club on March 18, 2022 in Palm Harbor, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

    AUSTIN, Texas – The bracket has been released for this week’s World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, which will start Wednesday at Austin (Texas) Country Club. Among the intriguing matchups in the 16 four-man pools are the impending match between world No. 1 Jon Rahm and match-play specialist Patrick Reed. Former FedExCup champ Justin Thomas may face the toughest road out of pool play, while Bryson DeChambeau’s return to competition will include a rematch against Lee Westwood, with whom DeChambeau dueled in last year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard.

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    The 64-man field is divided into 16 four-man pools. Players face each member of their pool once, with the player with the best record advancing to single-elimination rounds starting Saturday. Ties in pool play will be broken by sudden-death playoffs. Two rounds apiece will be played Saturday and Sunday to crown a champion.

    Billy Horschel is the defending champion after beating Scottie Scheffler, the current leader of the FedExCup, in the final match.

    Thomas, fresh off a T3 finish at the Valspar Championship, finds himself in the same pool as his good friend and noted match-play specialist Kevin Kisner, as well as Presidents Cup stalwart Marc Leishman and Luke List, who won this year’s Farmers Insurance Open. Kisner, who has a runner-up (2018) and victory (2019) in the Dell Technologies Match Play, and Thomas often trash talk when their alma maters, Georgia and Alabama, clash in college football.

    Thomas has advanced out of pool play just once in five appearances in this event. The former Alabama standout holds an 8-10-1 record in the tournament, highlighted by a fourth-place finish in 2018. Coincidentally, he opened that run by facing List, as he will on Wednesday, before getting the chance to exact revenge on Kisner. Kisner, the 2019 champion, beat Thomas, 2 and 1, in group play a year ago to curtail his chances. Kisner will first need to take on Leishman in what shapes as the perfect audition for his Presidents Cup claims.

    Leishman is 8-10-3 in the event but has never lost a Singles match at the Presidents Cup.

    Horschel finds himself in Group 12 with Belgium’s Thomas Pieters, recent AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am winner Tom Hoge and Australia’s exciting young prospect, Min Woo Lee, who is the brother of LPGA star Minjee Lee. Horschel also won the DP World Tour’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, during his successful 2021. He is 31st in this season’s FedExCup. Hoge has been one of the TOUR’s strongest players this year, ranking fifth in the FedExCup. Lee won a Rolex Series event, the Genesis Scottish Open, last year, while Pieters picked up a Rolex Series win of his own at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January. It was his second win on the DP World Tour in a span of three starts.

    Rahm will need to get past Sebastian Munoz of Colombia and rookie Cameron Young, a rising star who has two runners-up this season and ranks 15th in the FedExCup, before getting a shot at Reed, who went 6-0 in match play in leading Augusta State to consecutive NCAA Championships before burnishing his match-play reputation at the Ryder and Presidents cups.

    Rahm was runner-up to Dustin Johnson at Austin Country Club in 2017 and returned to the quarterfinals last year before losing to Scheffler. Reed has made it to the Round of 16 twice (2016, 2018) but failed to advance any further.

    Scheffler, who has won twice on TOUR in his last four starts, is grouped with three Englishmen in Group 5. Scheffler, who famously dispatched Rahm in Singles at last year’s Ryder Cup, faces another player known for Ryder Cup success in Ian Poulter. Scheffler will then face world No. 46 Tommy Fleetwood and world No. 25 Matt Fitzpatrick, a former U.S. Amateur champion who has four top-10s in five starts in 2022.

    Jordan Spieth, who like Scheffler attended the nearby University of Texas, finds himself with three fellow major champions in Group 11: Keegan Bradley, Justin Rose and Adam Scott.

    Mackenzie Hughes of Canada will get his chance to impress International Presidents Cup captain Trevor Immelman when he takes on three Americans in Group 8. Hughes will face 2020 FedExCup champ Dustin Johnson, a past winner of this event; three-time TOUR winner Max Homa and young star Matthew Wolff.

    Collin Morikawa, who was a disappointing 0-2-1 in his tournament debut last year, headlines Group 2 along with Jason Kokrak, who’s won three times in the past two seasons, match-play specialist Sergio Garcia and Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre.

    Norway’s Viktor Hovland highlights Group 3. He’ll face another European, Honda Classic champion Sepp Straka of Austria, and a pair of Americans in Cameron Tringale and Will Zalatoris. Tringale enters the week ranked 51st in the world and is seeking his first Masters invitation in seven years by cracking the top 50 at week’s end. Zalatoris is 25th in this season’s FedExCup standings.

    Further Presidents Cup auditions can be seen in Group 7 where Xander Schauffele, the Olympic gold medalist, and Tony Finau are clustered with Australian Lucas Herbert and Japan’s Takumi Kanaya. Herbert earned his first win at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship in the fall, while Kanaya, who was once the world’s top-ranked amateur, is a three-time winner on the Japan Tour.

    FedExCup champion Patrick Cantlay finds himself in Group 4 with South Korea’s Sungjae Im, winner of this season’s Shriners Children’s Open, Ireland’s Seamus Power and Keith Mitchell, who’s coming off a solid Florida Swing.

    DeChambeau, who’s playing on the PGA TOUR for the first time since January, has a rematch with Westwood on the schedule. The two tussled for two weeks in Florida last year, at both Bay Hill and THE PLAYERS. Talor Gooch, who earned his first PGA TOUR win this season, and 49-year-old Englishman Richard Bland also are in this group.

    Group 10 pits South African Louis Oosthuizen with England’s Paul Casey, who has advanced to at least the Round of 16 in seven of his 15 appearances in this event, Corey Conners of Canada and Sweden’s Alex Noren, who made the quarterfinals in 2017 and finished third in 2018. Group 13 features England’s Tyrrell Hatton, Daniel Berger, former PLAYERS champ Si Woo Kim and South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

    Joaquin Niemann, who won The Genesis Invitational in impressive fashion, is in a pool with the last man in the field, Maverick McNealy, as well as Russell Henley and Kevin Na. McNealy got in the field when Sam Burns withdrew after winning the Valspar Championship on Sunday.

    Mexico’s Abraham Ancer, one of the stars of the most recent Presidents Cup, faces Webb Simpson, who lives on the venue for this year’s Presidents Cup, Quail Hollow. Brian Harman and former Match Play winner Bubba Watson also highlight this group. Watson and Simpson are often teammates in international team matches, but they’ll be opponents this week, while Watson and Harman are both former Georgia Bulldogs.

    Major winners Brooks Koepka and Shane Lowry are in Group 16 along with Harold Varner III, who’s coming off a sixth-place finish at THE PLAYERS, and South Africa’s Erik Van Rooyen, who won his first TOUR title (Barracuda) and made his first TOUR Championship last year.

    A closer look at the groups (players’ seeding in parentheses):

    Group 1
    Jon Rahm (1)
    Patrick Reed (23)
    Cameron Young (40)
    Sebastian Munoz (58)

    Group 2
    Collin Morikawa (2)
    Jason Kokrak (22)
    Sergio Garcia (43)
    Robert MacIntyre (61)

    Group 3
    Viktor Hovland (3)
    Will Zalatoris (24)
    Cameron Tringale (45)
    Sepp Straka (63)

    Group 4
    Patrick Cantlay (4)
    Sungjae Im (21)
    Seamus Power (42)
    Keith Mitchell (62)

    Group 5
    Scottie Scheffler (5)
    Matt Fitzpatrick (20)
    Tommy Fleetwood (41)
    Ian Poulter (59)

    Group 6
    Justin Thomas (6)
    Kevin Kisner (29)
    Marc Leishman (37)
    Luke List (53)

    Group 7
    Xander Schauffele (7)
    Tony Finau (18)
    Lucas Herbert (39)
    Takumi Kanaya (56)

    Group 8
    Dustin Johnson (8)
    Max Homa (30)
    Matthew Wolff (38)
    Mackenzie Hughes (51)

    Group 9
    Bryson DeChambeau (9)
    Talor Gooch (27)
    Lee Westwood (47)
    Richard Bland (54)

    Group 10
    Louis Oosthuizen (10)
    Paul Casey (19)
    Corey Conners (36)
    Alex Noren (50)

    Group 11
    Jordan Spieth (11)
    Adam Scott (32)
    Justin Rose (46)
    Keegan Bradley (60)

    Group 12
    Billy Horschel (12)
    Thomas Pieters (26)
    Tom Hoge (33)
    Min Woo Lee (49)

    Group 13
    Tyrrell Hatton (13)
    Daniel Berger (17)
    Si Woo Kim (48)
    Christiaan Bezuidenhout (52)

    Group 14
    Joaquin Niemann (14)
    Kevin Na (25)
    Russell Henley (34)
    Maverick McNealy (64)

    Group 15
    Abraham Ancer (15)
    Webb Simpson (31)
    Brian Harman (44)
    Bubba Watson (57)

    Group 16
    Brooks Koepka (16)
    Shane Lowry (28)
    Harold Varner III (35)
    Erik van Rooyen (55)

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