Because of the format of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, an explanation of the construct of this Power Rankings is necessary.
In a perfect world, each of the 16 Group Stages would be treated equally with its own micro-Power Rankings. Then, another version for each of the eight matchups in the first round of the Knockout Stage would be compiled, and so on.
Instead, the ranking below reflects the golfers I have advancing to the Round of 16. Nos. 1-4 are slotted in order of finish, Nos. 5-8 are positioned subjectively as losers among the quarterfinalists, as are Nos. 9-16 as victims in the first round of the Knockout Stage.
Some history about seeds, an overview of Austin Country Club and other information can be found beneath the ranking.
POWER RANKINGS: WGC-DELL TECHNOLOGIES MATCH PLAY
The Match Play does not contribute to PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, but you can play Dell Technologies Bracket Challenge. It’s free and the interface will recognize you automatically if you’re registered for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf. Meanwhile, the concurrently contested Corales Puntacana Championship does contribute to the fantasy game, so there are two formats to play this week. As noted in my schedule at the bottom, I’ll have a stand-alone Power Rankings for Corales on Tuesday. Draws and Fades will include detail of your gaming options this week, as well as reviews of a few notables who don’t appear in the Power Rankings for Corales.
This is golf, so it’d be improper to try to compare the Match Play and how it’s presented to something outside the sport. Rather, reverse that. Experiences that are not related to golf should use it as a powerful example of how razor-thin the differences can be when assessing talent and when it goes head-to-head on short runways like this.
For example, a direct correlation to the NCAA Basketball Tournament – men or women – stops at the fact that there are 64 in the traditional bracket. Top seeds in hoops survive and advance exponentially more frequently than those in the WGC-Match Play. Consider that just last year, Jon Rahm was the only top seed of the 16 Group Stages to advance. He survived one more match before being eliminated in the quarterfinals.
Also consider how unlikely it was that half of the lowest seeds – that is, eight of the golfers slotted 49-64 upon arrival – advanced from the Group Stage. Four from the golfers ranked 17-32 survived, while three from those slotted 33-48 emerged.
In the first five years that Austin Country Club hosted, 24 top seeds have survived the Group Stage. Of the next three tiers of 16 golfers each, a respective 20, 17 and 19 played on among the 17-32, 33-48 and 49-64 seeds. You’re not going to see that kind of equitable dispersion in any other sport.
The tournament starts on Wednesday and guarantees every entrant three head-to-head matches. Naturally then, exactly when a golfer draws another may or may not favor his ability in certain conditions.
Austin CC should start soft thanks to early-week rain, but it will dry out in dry and gradually warming air, a sunny sky and gusty winds at least for the first two days. Things calm for action on Friday and Saturday before stiffening again for Sunday’s conclusion.
The 53 golfers who have teed it up in the Match Play at Austin CC at least once before will find it familiar. This is the second edition with the newest sand in the bunkers, so there were no changes to the par 71 in the last year. The course still tips at 7,108 yards. The only layer of rough is trimmed to two inches, and the overseeded TifEagle bermuda greens are prepped to touch 12 feet on the Stimpmeter. It just might take a day or two to get there due to the moisture.
In addition to the usual array of spoils awarded to every champion, this week’s winner will receive 550 FedExCup points and PGA TOUR membership in Category 6 of the Priority Ranking through at least 2024-25
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.com’s Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous perspectives. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.