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WGC-Dell Match Play: Bracket, schedule, how to watch, and how the tournament works

This week’s tournament from Austin, Texas has a 64 golfers in group play, and leads to a 72 hole finish over two days for the finalists. We break down how it works here.

Dustin Johnson, Bryson Dechambeau, or Jon Rahm at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship

The World Golf Championships are back the weekend of March 25th, and this time we get some match play action. 64 of the best golfers in the world are headed to Austin Country Club in Texas to square off in a bracket-style match play competition.

The tournament has a field of 64 players filled based upon the following criteria:

  • Top 64 players from the Official World Golf Ranking (ten days prior to the event).
  • If anyone within the top 64 is not available the field is filled by the next highest ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking. Two golfers chose not to play from the Top 64, Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler.

Format

If you’re familiar with the World Cup in soccer, it’s a similar setup here. But instead of two teams (golfers) advancing, it’s just the group winner going to the knockout stage.

The golfers are randomly drawn into groups of four, but it’s weighted so that all the strongest players don’t end up in the same part of the bracket. They pull one name out of the pool of No. 1-16 rated golfers, one name from the group ranked 17-32, one from 33-48, and one from 49-64.

That makes for 16 groups of four golfers, and each will play the other once for a total of six matches per group. You get one point for a win, and a half-point for a tie (or being “all square” at the end of 18 holes). The group winner advances to the Sweet 16 on Saturday.

If there’s a tie at the end of all six matches, we go to sudden death off Tee #1 at Austin Country Club. First player to win a hole wins the group. Keep in mind there are situations where it could be three players in a sudden-death playoff (three group members tied with two points each, one with zero) or even four (all players with 1.5 points).

Once group play begins, much like the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament, it’s win or go home. Two rounds on Saturday to get down from 16 golfers to four, two rounds on Sunday to determine a champion.

Also the losers from Sunday morning will have a third-place match so the tv cameras have something else to follow. Instead of two likely tired guys walking most of the time, we’ll have four!

Who’s playing

Here’s the complete bracket, and here’s a list of the full groups as well. The Top 16 seeds and leaders by ranking of each group are:

No. 1 Dustin Johnson (+1400 favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook)
No. 2 Justin Thomas (+1400 favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook)
No. 3 Jon Rahm (+1400 favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook)
No. 4 Collin Morikawa
No. 5 Bryson DeChambeau (+1400 favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook)
No. 6 Xander Schauffele
No. 7 Patrick Reed
No. 8 Tyrrell Hatton
No. 9 Webb Simpson
No. 10 Patrick Cantlay
No. 11 Rory McIlroy
No. 12 Tony Finau
No. 13 Viktor Hovland
No. 14 Daniel Berger
No. 15 Matt Fitzpatrick
No. 16 Sungjae Im

Betting options

At DraftKings Sportsbook you can bet on the winners of each of the groups, as well as the overall tournament winner and the victor in some of the individual matches that will take place. Match play is maybe the best format for golf betting, and there will be in-game opportunities to make your wagers as well.

Enjoy the weekend at Austin Country Club, and a nice break from the boring stroke play routine on the PGA Tour.