The PGA Tour heads to the Lone Star State for what may very well be the final World Golf Championship at the 2023 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. The lone event on the calendar to feature the match-play format, the WGC Match Play will welcome 64 of the best players in the world to Austin Country Club.
Last season, world No. 1 and defending champion Scottie Scheffler was featured in the all-English pool of Matt Fitzpatrick, Ian Poulter and Tommy Fleetwood. Scheffler went 2-1-0 in pool play, losing to Fleetwood, and had to defeat Fitzpatrick in a playoff in order to advance. This proved to be a domino effect as Scheffler went on to claim victory over Kevin Kisner in the championship, avenging his 2021 runner-up performance and climbing to world No. 1 for the first time in his career.
He arrives to his alma mater's backyard atop the golf world again, and will be up against Tom Kim, Alex Noren and Davis Riley in pool play. World No. 2 Jon Rahm occupies the other side of the bracket in the group of death, and will need to go through Billy Horschel, Keith Mitchell and Rickie Fowler in his first appearance since withdrawing from the Players Championship with illness.
Rory McIlroy is the No. 3 overall seed and will need to get something going with the 2023 Masters on the horizon. He will be tasked with defeating Keegan Bradley, Denny McCarthy and Scott Stallings. A potential date with Rahm in the semifinals could be in store if both players act accordingly.
Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa, Tony Finau, Tyrrell Hatton and Xander Schauffele should have relatively easy strolls to the Round of 16 on paper. Yet as we have seen before, unknown commodities such as Victor Perez, Victor Dubuisson and Corey Conners have made runs in the past proving anything is possible in this format.
Event: 2023 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play | Dates: Mar. 22-26
Location: Austin Country Club -- Austin, TX
Par: 71 | Yardage: 7,108 | Purse: $20,000,000
Unlike the early stages of the event, where a single-elimination style was solely utilized, players are guaranteed three matches in pool play. Each pool consists of an "A" player (ranked 1-16), "B" player (ranked 17-32), "C" player (ranked 33-48) and a "D" player (ranked 49-64). The player with the most points (i.e., the best record) by the end of the three matches will advance to the Round of 16 where single elimination will begin until there is only one golfer left standing.
Group scoring: 1 point for a win, 0.5 points for a tie and 0 points for a loss. Whichever player in each pod has the most points at the end of three matches advances. If there is a tie, or if multiple players are tied, there will be a sudden-death playoff on Friday.
Here's a look at all 16 groups going into Wednesday's action (the top 16 seeds were determined by Official World Golf Ranking).
- Group 1: Scottie Scheffler, Tom Kim, Alex Noren, Davis Riley
- Group 2: Jon Rahm, Billy Horschel, Keith Mitchell, Rickie Fowler
- Group 3: Rory McIlroy, Keegan Bradley, Denny McCarthy, Scott Stallings
- Group 4: Patrick Cantlay, Brian Harman, K.H. Lee, Nick Taylor
- Group 5: Max Homa, Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Kisner, Justin Suh
- Group 6: Xander Schauffele, Tom Hoge, Aaron Wise, Cam Davis
- Group 7: Will Zalatoris, Ryan Fox, Harris English, Andrew Putnam
- Group 8: Viktor Hovland, Chris Kirk, Si Woo Kim, Matt Kuchar
- Group 9: Collin Morikawa, Jason Day, Adam Svensson, Victor Perez
- Group 10: Tony Finau, Kurt Kitayama, Adrian Meronk, Christiaan Bezuidenhout
- Group 11: Matt Fitzpatrick, Sahith Theegala, Min Woo Lee, J.J. Spaun
- Group 12: Jordan Spieth, Shane Lowry, Taylor Montgomery, Mackenzie Hughes
- Group 13: Sam Burns, Seamus Power, Adam Scott, Adam Hadwin
- Group 14: Tyrrell Hatton, Russell Henley, Lucas Herbert, Ben Griffin
- Group 15: Cameron Young, Sepp Straka, Corey Conners, Davis Thompson
- Group 16: Sungjae Im, Tommy Fleetwood, J.T. Poston, Maverick McNealy
Here is a look at the complete bracket for the 2023 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
2023 WGC-Dell Match Play field, odds
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook
- Scottie Scheffler (8-1): It was here a season ago where Scheffler ascended to world No. 1 for the first time in his career. He arrives a year later in arguably the same, if not better, form with wins at the WM Phoenix Open and Players Championship. In two trips to Austin CC, Scheffler has garnered a record of 10-2-2 while claiming the runner-up prize in 2021 and the grand prize in 2022. He has drawn one of the more difficult pools with Kim, Noren and Riley, and if the putter remains somewhat cold, there is a path, albeit a tight one, for the world No. 1 to be upended early.
- Jon Rahm (11-1): The big Spaniard always seems to threaten in Austin. Putting together a career record of 12-7-3 on the Pete Dye design, Rahm has made his way out of the group stage each of the last two years, including last season when he bowed out in the Round of 16 after losing to Brooks Koepka in 19 holes. Rahm will give himself plenty of birdie looks over the span of a match, and is putting his golf ball as well as ever. His initial group of Horschel, Mitchell and Fowler is a dreadful draw, but I like his path to the finals if he makes his way out.
- Rory McIlroy (12-1)
- Patrick Cantlay (16-1)
- Max Homa (20-1)
- Xander Schauffele (22-1): He may have one of the easier pools with Cam Davis, Tom Hoge and Aaron Wise. Schauffele has a record of 5-4-3 at Austin CC but has yet to advance to the Round of 16. Davis and Hoge flashed form at TPC Sawgrass -- namely Hoge with his record-setting 62 -- but Schauffele is without a flaw in his game and has a clear path to the quarterfinals where McIlroy may be waiting.
- Viktor Hovland (22-1)
- Tony Finau (22-1)
- Jordan Spieth (22-1)
- Collin Morikawa (22-1): The vagaries of match play will be apparent for Morikawa. How often will a playing competitor give him a putt inside 3 feet? Potentially never. He led the field in strokes gained approach at the Players Championship but was let down by his putter over the final 54 holes. Morikawa's approach play will consistently apply pressure on his playing competitors, but the tables will turn once they arrive to the green. He is 2-2-3 in two trips to Austin.
- Tyrrell Hatton (28-1)
- Cameron Young (28-1)
2023 WGC-Dell Match Play expert picks
|Winner (20-1): Some may argue that Homa is the headman of the group of death with match-play threat Kisner, former Masters winner Matsuyama and rising star Suh. However, Homa has played good enough golf to instill confidence in winning this pod. He is coming off a solid Florida Swing that saw him lead the field in strokes gained approach at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and claim a T6 finish at the Players Championship. Over the last three months, he leads this field in strokes gained approach and ranks ninth in strokes gained putting, a lethal combination in match play.|
|Contender (33-1): He is twice a winner of this championship including the first instance at Austin CC. Over the last three months, Day ranks fifth in total strokes gained, ninth in strokes gained tee to green, third in strokes gained around the green and first in strokes gained putting. The Australian has collected a career match play record of 24-15 and should be able to get past a sneaky tough group from which anything will be possible.|
|Sleeper (80-1): A big number at the Copperhead Course caused his tournament to end early in the Tampa area. He will begin this week in a group with Burns, Power and Scott in what may be one of the bigger tossups of the 16 groups. He does his best work on shorter, positional courses and has the putter to wreak havoc in the match-play format. He was without a loss in his lone appearance (1-0-2) and could be granted easy passage to the quarterfinals if Cantlay gets clipped in Group 4.|