Mythical Match Play championship: Round 1 results
March 25, 2020
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- March 25, 2020
Matches in World Golf Championships - Dell Technologies Match Play
Tiger vs. Phil. Bubba vs. Rose. Scott vs. Spieth. JT vs. Hovland. Kisner vs. Woodland.
These were among the juicy Round 1 matches in our Mythical World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, the just-for-fun exercise we’re conducting this week in lieu of the real tournament, which was among the canceled events by the PGA TOUR in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The TOUR conducted a draw to produce a bracket, and now our 10 experts are voting for the winner of each match. We’ll release each day’s results as if the tournament is actually being played at Austin Country Club in Texas. The 16 Group Stage winners will be determined on Friday, then we’ll vote for single-elimination matches this weekend to crown the Mythical champion on Sunday.
What would have this year's bracket looked like, you ask?— WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play (@DellMatchPlay) March 23, 2020
Here you go. pic.twitter.com/kJHmlUxJUZ
The voting rules are simple: Each expert was asked to pick a match winner, and the golfer with the majority of votes is the match winner. In the case of an equal split of votes, the match is considered tied.
Our 10 expert voters include: GolfBet’s Jason Sobel from The Action Network; GolfTV’s Jamie Kennedy; Tom Alter and Jim McCabe from PGA TOUR Communications; Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton; PGATOUR.COM writers Ben Everill, Sean Martin, Mike McAllister and Cameron Morfit; and a combined vote from the TOUR’s ShotLink team.
Here are the experts’ picks for the 32 Round 1 matches that would’ve been played Wednesday in Austin. Feel free to provide your own picks and commentary – and let us know if you agree or disagree with ours -- in the comments section below.
Rory McIlroy (1) vs. Sung Kang (52): 10 votes for McIlroy, 0 votes for Kang. McILROY wins.
Why I picked McIlroy: “Possibly the biggest David vs Goliath match-up of the group stage. Kang has shown form this year, but Rory’s on a different level.” – Jamie Kennedy
Gary Woodland (18) vs. Kevin Kisner (36): 9 votes for Kisner, 1 vote for Woodland. KISNER wins.
Why I picked Kisner: “A win last year, a runner-up in 2018, and 13-2-1 in his last 16 matches at Austin CC.” – Mike McAllister
Group standings: McIlroy 1-0, Kisner 1-0, Woodland 0-1, Kang 0-1
Jon Rahm (2) vs. Tom Lewis (59): 10 votes for Rahm, 0 votes for Lewis. RAHM wins.
Why I picked Rahm: “From U.S. Open last year, his worldwide results include three wins and six other top 5s. That’s enough for me.” – Ben Everill
Bernd Wiesberger (26) vs. Chez Reavie (37): 8 votes for Wiesberger, 2 votes for Reavie. WIESBERGER wins.
Why I picked Wiesberger: “Unheralded talent deserves greater respect.” – Jim McCabe
Group standings: Rahm 1-0, Wiesberger 1-0, Reavie 0-1, Lewis 0-1
Brooks Koepka (3) vs. Shaun Norris (60): 9 votes for Koepka, 1 vote for Norris. KOEPKA wins.
Why I picked Koepka: "I wish it was Chuck Norris. Dr. Anthony Fauci turns to him for advice." - Rob Bolton
Abraham Ancer (29) vs. Collin Morikawa (44): 7 votes for Morikawa, 3 votes for Ancer. MORIKAWA wins.
Why I picked Morikawa: “Morikawa’s steady play, and strong ball-striking, will make him a tough beat. He just doesn’t make mistakes.” – Sean Martin
Group standings: Koepka 1-0, Morikawa 1-0, Ancer 0-1, Norris 0-1
Justin Thomas (4) vs. Viktor Hovland (57): 6 votes for Thomas, 4 votes for Hovland. THOMAS wins.
Why we picked Thomas: “Thomas ranks fifth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green compared to Hovland’s 130th on TOUR and both are about equal when it comes to performance on the greens.” – ShotLink team
Paul Casey (24) vs. Erik van Rooyen (42): 8 votes for Casey, 2 votes for van Rooyen. CASEY wins.
Why I picked Casey: “Match play aficionado gets at it again.” – Jim McCabe
Group standings: Thomas 1-0, Casey 1-0, van Rooyen 0-1, Hovland 0-1
Dustin Johnson (5) vs. Keegan Bradley (62): 9 votes for Johnson, 1 vote for Bradley. JOHNSON wins.
Why I picked Johnson: “Johnson, who became the first to sweep the four World Golf Championships when he cruised to the title here in 2017, simply has too many good vibes in Austin.” – Cameron Morfit
Hideki Matsuyama (22) vs. Cameron Smith (35): 6 votes for Matsuyama, 4 votes for Smith. MATSUYAMA wins.
Why I picked Matsuyama: “Matsuyama hasn’t won in three years, but his game is trending upward. I’ll take the superior ball-striker in this match.” – Sean Martin
Group standings: Johnson 1-0, Matsuyama 1-0, Smith 0-1, Bradley 0-1
Dustin Johnson's top shots at WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play
Adam Scott (6) vs. Jordan Spieth (56): 9 votes for Scott, 1 vote for Spieth. SCOTT wins.
Why I picked Scott: “Scott is enjoying a career resurgence as he approaches 40 and can still make enough putts (most of the time) to allow his superior ball-striking to see him through.” – Cameron Morfit
Lee Westwood (31) vs. Shugo Imahira (41): 9 votes for Westwood, 1 vote for Imahira. WESTWOOD wins.
Why I picked Westwood: “Although this event hasn’t exactly been kind to him, he’s flashed enough form lately to get past Imahira.” – Mike McAllister
"We’ve seen a mini-revival from Westy over the last few months that would have peaked around Augusta." -- Ben Everill
Group standings: Scott 1-0, Westwood 1-0, Imahira 0-1, Spieth 0-1
Patrick Reed (7) vs. Andrew Putnam (63): 10 votes for Reed, 0 votes for Putnam. REED wins.
Why I picked Reed: “Put him in a one-on-one and he’s always tough to beat.” – Ben Everill
Matthew Fitzpatrick (25) vs. Rafa Cabrera Bello (46): 6 votes for Cabrera Bello, 4 votes for Fitzpatrick. CABRERA BELLO wins.
Why I picked Cabrera Bello: “The Spaniard has good feel for Austin CC.” – Jim McCabe
Group standings: Reed 1-0, Cabrera Bello 1-0, Fitzpatrick 0-1, Putnam 0-1
Patrick Cantlay (8) vs. Adam Hadwin (55): 10 votes for Cantlay, 0 votes for Hadwin. CANTLAY wins.
Why I picked Cantlay: "If the Canuck had been showcasing benefits yielded by the Nappy Factor, this would set up as an upset." - Rob Bolton
Tyrrell Hatton (21) vs. Sergio Garcia (38): 8 votes for Hatton, 2 votes for Garcia. HATTON wins.
Why I picked Hatton: “The mercurial Hatton’s self-confidence has never been higher after notching his first PGA TOUR victory at Bay Hill.” – Cameron Morfit
Group standings: Cantlay 1-0, Hatton 1-0, Garcia 0-1, Hadwin 0-1
Webb Simpson (9) vs. Lucas Herbert (64): 10 votes for Simpson, 0 votes for Herbert. SIMPSON wins.
Why I picked Simpson: “Simpson has been one of the best players on TOUR this season, so there’s no reason to think an upset will happen here.” – Sean Martin
Rickie Fowler (27) vs. Scottie Scheffler (45): 7 votes for Scheffler, 3 votes for Fowler. SCHEFFLER wins.
Why I picked Scheffler: “Scheffler has been playing really well this season, and Fowler may not be the fan favorite against Texas Longhorn.” – Tom Alter
Group standings: Simpson 1-0, Scheffler 1-0, Fowler 0-1, Herbert 0-1
Tommy Fleetwood (10) vs. Byeong Hun An (50): 6 votes for Fleetwood, 4 votes for An. FLEETWOOD wins.
Why I picked Fleetwood: “An is an underrated player who can ball-strike with the best of them. Sadly for him, Tommy ball-strikes better than almost all of them. Fleetwood is a man for an occasion and should easily handle the South Korean.” – Jamie Kennedy
Francesco Molinari (28) vs. Christiaan Bezuidenhout (47): 8 votes for Bezuidenhout, 2 votes for Molinari. BEZUIDENHOUT wins.
Why I picked Bezuidenhout: “Yes, Molinari was a semifinalist last year so this is definitely an upset pick. But it’s been nearly a year since his last top-10 finish, and he’s missed the cut in three of his last four starts. The South African is in better form right now.” – Mike McAllister
Group standings: Fleetwood 1-0, Bezuidenhout 1-0, Molinari 0-1, An 0-1
Tiger Woods (11) vs. Phil Mickelson (61): 9 votes for Woods, 1 vote for Mickelson. WOODS wins.
Why I picked Woods: “Tiger is a master at match play. If he’s healthy, he wins.” – Tom Alter
Kevin Na (30) vs. Victor Perez (40): 8 votes for Na, 2 votes for Perez. NA wins.
Why I picked Na: "He's more experienced and it assumes that he doesn't withdraw early." - Rob Bolton
Group standings: Woods 1-0, Na 1-0, Perez 0-1, Mickelson 0-1
Tiger Woods’ clutch shot from the bushes at WGC-Dell Match Play
Xander Schauffele (12) vs. Jason Day (51): 7 votes for Schauffele, 3 votes for Day. SCHAUFFELE wins.
Why I picked Schauffele: “Day showed some promising signs on the West Coast, but he withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard and struggled in the only round at THE PLAYERS Championship, so if there were a tournament this week, you’d have to wonder about his health.” – Sean Martin
Shane Lowry (20) vs. Danny Willett (33): 6 votes for Lowry, 4 votes for Willett. LOWRY wins.
Why I picked Lowry: “Had gone eight straight matches at Austin CC without a win until Friday last year. I’m calling that win momentum.” – Ben Everill
Group standings: Schauffele 1-0, Lowry 1-0, Willett 0-1, Day 0-1
Bryson DeChambeau (13) vs. Ian Poulter (58): 6 votes for DeChambeau, 4 votes for Poulter. DeCHAMBEAU wins.
Why I picked DeChambeau: “A match-play assassin, Poulter was fired up for this potential Ryder Cup preview, but DeChambeau has been trending in the right direction, his 40-yard average margin over Poulter off the tee proving to be a huge boost throughout the day.” – Jason Sobel
Henrik Stenson (32) vs. Jazz Janewattananond (39): 8 votes for Stenson, 2 votes for Janewattananond. STENSON wins.
Why I picked Stenson: “Ol’ Henrik has dirt in his wedges older than Jazz.” – Jim McCabe
Group standings: DeChambeau 1-0, Stenson 1-0, Janewattananond 0-1, Poulter 0-1
Justin Rose (14) vs. Bubba Watson (53): 6 votes for Watson, 4 votes for Rose. WATSON wins.
Why I picked Watson: “A strange year for Rose -- three MCs in four PGA TOUR starts since the calendar turned over -- continues in this one, as Bubba's aggressive nature and affinity for this course (he won here two years ago) proves too much to overcome.” – Jason Sobel
Sungjae Im (23) vs. Matt Wallace (43): 10 votes for Im, 0 votes for Wallace. IM wins.
Why I picked Im: "He's lost to only two golfers in his last two starts; now he needs to beat only one per match." - Rob Bolton
Group standings: Im 1-0, Watson 1-0, Rose 0-1, Wallace 0-1
Marc Leishman (15) vs. Graeme McDowell (49): 7 votes for Leishman, 3 votes for McDowell. LEISHMAN wins.
Why I picked Leishman: “After struggling in the first three years in Austin, he found something last year and went undefeated in group play. Oh, and he’s got a win and a runner-up among his last four starts.” – Mike McAllister
Matt Kuchar (17) vs. Billy Horschel (34): 7 votes for Kuchar, 3 votes for Horschel. KUCHAR wins.
Why we picked Kuchar: “Kuchar is a past champion and has seven top-10s in his last nine starts at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.” – ShotLink team
Group standings: Leishman 1-0, Kuchar 1-0, Horschel 0-1, McDowell 0-1
Tony Finau (16) vs. Brendon Todd (54): 9 votes for Finau, 1 vote for Todd. FINAU wins.
Why I picked Finau: “With the exception of Kevin Kisner last year, the course favors longer hitters, and Finau has proven match-tough (Presidents Cup, Ryder Cup) on any type of layout.” – Cameron Morfit
Louis Oosthuizen (19) vs. Brandt Snedeker (48): 5 votes for Oosthuizen, 5 votes for Snedeker. TIE.
Why I picked Oosthuizen: “Has a 13-6 match play record since the tournament moved to Austin, including his run to the final in 2016. I think he likes the course.” – Mike McAllister
Group standings: Finau 1-0, Oosthuizen 0-0-1, Snedeker 0-0-1, Todd 0-1