Format Change at WGC-Cadillac Match Play


The PGA Tour’s only match play event makes its way out to the West Coast this week, as the WGC-Cadillac Match Play gets underway at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco on Wednesday.

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Harding Park has plenty of history dating back 90 years when it was opened in 1925. The course has seen its fair share of PGA tournaments and this will be the second World Golf Championship, the other being the WGC-American Express Championship back in 2005. Harding Park has come a long way since 1998 when the course was used as a parking lot for the U.S. Open held at nearby Olympic Club.

Joining the PGA Tour’s Tournament Players Club network back in 2010, TPC Harding Park will face a big test for future events this week. It will be a chance to see how it will fare when the PGA Championship stops there in 2020 and the Presidents Cup in 2025.

One test Harding Park faces for that Presidents Cup is its match play set up , which is the reason behind the odd course layout this week. Holes 14 thru 18 are considered to be the toughest and best holes on the course and will be rerouted so they are the starting holes on the back nine. Why you, ask? Most match-play matches are over before the 18th hole.  This new look will allow the challenge of these holes to come into play and give the golfers a chance to reach that stretch.

Also seeing a new look is the WGC-Cadillac Match Play itself, which has been moved from the traditional date in February to the week before the PLAYERS Championship. Instead of the single elimination set up as of old, the tournament will switch to round-robin match ups. This set up is much better for fans and the Tour as it allows big name golfers to stick around for a few days as opposed to the possibility of them being sent home after the first day. The round robin will take place the first three days and then be narrowed down to sixteen for Saturday.

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  • It started with a unique live selection show Monday on the Golf Channel, giving it a nice March Madness vibe. The field of 64 has been split into

    16 groups

    with the top 16 golfers in the world headlining each grouping. The other golfers that join those groups are chosen from three pools broken up by Nos. 17-32, Nos. 33-48, and Nos. 49-64.

    The first three days, from Wednesday-Friday, will feature the golfers within each group facing each other in round-robin matches. The best record out of the four golfers advances to the weekend. If there happen to be two-way tie for best record in each group, the tie breaker goes to head-to-head results. In case of a three-way tie, a sudden death playoff will take place.

    By the weekend, our field will be narrowed down to 16 with the remaining guys entering the single elimination matchups. The round of 16 takes places on Saturday morning and the quarterfinals happening in the afternoon. Patrons will come back on Sunday morning for the semifinals and it will be all said and done after the championship and consolation on Sunday afternoon.

    It’s going to be a tough road to make it through Sunday, but with the best golfers in the world going head-to-head in match play, anything can happen.

    Next: 2015 WGC-Cadillac Match Play Power Rankings