Groups set for WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
March 19, 2018
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- March 19, 2018
- Defending champion Dustin Johnson is the top overall seed entering this week. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, Texas -- Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed have been on the same side as American teammates in a dozen matches. Now they'll try to beat each other at this week's World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Reed was placed in the Spieth group during Monday's random draw in downtown Austin, setting up a Friday match at Austin Country Club that both hope will have significance. Spieth, who won an NCAA title during his college career here at the University of Texas, has played 12 matches with Reed as a teammate but never as a foe.
With the round-robin format in group stage, both will have two matches before they play each other. The other two players in the group, China's Hao Tong Li and South Africa's Charl Schwartzel, hope to spoil the anticipated showdown.
That's the fun of the three-day group stage, with the 16 group winners advancing to the weekend's sudden-death single-elimination action.
Austin Country Club is hosting the event for the third year. Jason Day beat Louis Oosthuizen in the championship match in 2016; those two now find themselves in the same group, along with Jason Dufner and James Hahn.
Last year's champion, Dustin Johnson, will have to get past Presidents Cup teammate Kevin Kisner as one of his group opponents. Rory McIlroy, last week's champion of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard, has a former U.S. Amateur winner (Peter Uihlein) and U.S. Junior Amateur winner (Brian Harman) in his group, along with another University of Texas grad in Jhonattan Vegas.
Players in the 64-man field were seeded according to their position on the Official World Ranking as of Monday. Players were then placed into four pools of 16 players (Pool A: 1-16; Pool B: 17-32; Pool C: 33-48; Pool D: 49-64). The top 16 ranked players headed the 16 groups, with Monday's random draw determing the other three spots.
"To win the whole thing, you've got beat some great players," said Pat Perez, the top-seeded player in Group 15. "You just have to, because everybody in this field is a great player.
"To actually have a chance to beat some great players is pretty cool, especially the fact they're friends and this and that. But it's such a cool idea, just the whole tournament, it's awesome."
A closer look at each group:
Here are the draws for group play. The first name in each group was determined by their world ranking. The other three were drawn randomly. Player seeds are in parentheses.
GROUP 1: Dustin Johnson (1), Kevin Kisner (32), Adam Hadwin (38), Bernd Wiesberger (52) ... The defending champ gets a tough group that includes 2017 Presidents Cup teammate Kisner along with International member Hadwin. Wiesberger won two matches last year but failed to get out of group stage.
GROUP 2: Justin Thomas (2), Francesco Molinari (21), Patton Kizzire (48), Luke List (60) ... For Thomas and List, it's a renewal of their playoff at The Honda Classic, won by Thomas. Kizzire, like Thomas, has already won twice on the PGA TOUR this year -- and they also are the top two players in the FedExCup standings. (Thomas at No. 1, Kizzire at No. 2). Molinari has struggled in this event.
GROUP 3: Jon Rahm (3), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (28), Chez Reavie (43), Keegan Bradley (63) ... "Certainly not an easy group," said Rahm, last year's finalist. Reavie is playing well on TOUR and Aphibarnrat recently won the World Super 6 Perth event.
GROUP 4: Jordan Spieth (4), Patrick Reed (19), Haotong Li (34), Charl Schwartzel (49) ... Golf gods must have had some fun drawing Reed into the Spieth group, thus setting up a match between the two fiery American teammates. The veteran Schwartzel is always a tough out while Li is making his first appearance.
GROUP 5: Hideki Matsuyama (4), Patrick Cantlay (30), Cameron Smith (46), Yusaku Miyazato (53) ... A very intriguing group. Matsuyama -- the highest-ranked player from Japan -- gets to play his fellow countryman in Miyazato. Cantlay and Smith are capable of big performances at any time. Will be a fun group to follow.
GROUP 6: Rory McIlroy (6), Brian Harman (18), Jhonattan Vegas (44), Peter Uihlein (57) ... Fresh off his win at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, McIlroy should be flying high coming into this week. But Harman is fiesty and Vegas will have his fans as a former Texas player. Uilhein is making his Dell Match Play debut.
GROUP 7: Sergio Garcia (7), Xander Schauffele (20), Dylan Frittelli (41), Shubhankar Sharma (62) ... The veteran Garcia, who now resides here with his wife and newborn child, will be tested by three young players -- Schauffele, last year's PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year; Frittelli, who won a NCAA title with the University of Texas; and Sharma, who played so well at the previous WGC event.
GROUP 8: Jason Day (8), Louis Oosthuizen (25), Jason Dufner (42), James Hahn (56) ... This group is highlighted by the rematch of Day vs. Oosthuizen, who faced off in the 2016 final when the event was held in Austin for the first time. Day won that match 5 and 4.
GROUP 9: Tommy Fleetwood (9), Daniel Berger (26), Kevin Chappell (33), Ian Poulter (58) ... Fleetwood failed to get out of group play last year and his road this year will be challenged by American President Cuppers Berger and Chappell along with match play demon Poulter. "It's a good one, isn't it?" Fleetwood said of his group.
GROUP 10: Paul Casey (10), Matthew Fitzpatrick (31), Kyle Stanley (45), Russell Henley (51) ... Casey is a two-time runner-up in this event and playing great golf right now. Stanley is making his first appearance in this event since 2012 and Henley has an impressive match play record during his NCAA career. Fitzpatrick defeated Justin Thomas here last year.
GROUP 11: Marc Leishman (11), Branden Grace (23), Bubba Watson (35), Julian Suri (64) ... Leishman and Grace are International Presidents Cuppers, while Watson has represented the U.S. multiple times. Suri is the last player in the field after Joost Luiten pulled out.
GROUP 12: Tyrrell Hatton (12), Charley Hoffman (22), Brendan Steele (36), Alexander Levy (55) ... Hatton and Levy have battled plenty of times on the European Tour, while Hoffman and Steele have done the same on the PGA TOUR. Hatton was T-3 in his last WGC start in Mexico.
GROUP 13: Alex Noren (13), Tony Finau (29), Thomas Pieters (39), Kevin Na (61) ... Noren has a couple of heavy hitters in his group with Finau and Pieters. Na won his group last year.
GROUP 14: Phil Mickelson (14), Rafa Cabrera Bello (17), Satoshi Kodaira (40), Charles Howell III (59) ... Mickelson had a good run last year before losing in the quarterfinals. Cabrera Bello is the highest-ranked Pool B player in the field and Kodaira is the second-highest ranked player from Japan. CH3 was knocked out in the Round of 16 last year.
GROUP 15: Pat Perez (15), Gary Woodland (24), Webb Simpson (37), Si Woo Kim (50) ... Perez failed to get out of group stage last year and has friends Woodland (2015 finalist) and Simpson in his group, along with the reigning THE PLAYERS champion.
GROUP 16: Matt Kuchar (16), Ross Fisher (27), Yuta Ikeda (47) Zach Johnson (54) ... The Kuchar-Johnson matchup will be a good match of the two longtime TOUR vets. Beware of Fisher, a group winner last year. Ikeda has yet to win a match in this event.