WGC-Cadillac Match Play First Round Winners


The brand new revamped WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship is here!  Gone is the NCAA Tournament style bracket and here is the fresh tournament that is much more fan friendly.  The field has been broken up into 16 groups of four that will compete in round robin play from Wednesday -Friday.  The best player from each group will move on to the weekend where things start to get real serious.  For now let’s look and see who those sixteen players will be.

More from Golf News

Group 1 – Rory McIlroy, Billy Horschel, Brandt Snedeker & Jason Dufner

McIlroy must have been given the star treatment here because the world’s best player isn’t in one of the toughest groups out there.  Yes Horschel won the 2014 FedEx Cup but so far he’s been mediocre to say the least in 2015.  Dufner has struggled since winning the PGA Championship two years ago and Snedeker is the only one in the group with a victory on the PGA Tour this year.  If the first 27 holes at Augusta didn’t count Rory could have easily won a Green Jacket, and he may not win this week but he’ll get out of this group.  Winner: Rory McIlroy

Group 2 – Jordan Spieth, Lee Westwood, Matt Every & Miko Ilonen

Can you guess who the headliner is in this group?  Is it Ilonen who is oly in the field because Phil Mickelson isn’t?  Or how about Matt Every and his back-to-back Arnold Palmer Invitational victories?  There’s also Lee Westwood, who has made a living in match play situations at the Ryder Cup.  Then there’s that Jordan Spieth guy, remember him?  He had a string of four top two finishes including two wins and a new Green Jacket.  This pick is an easy one.  Winner: Jordan Spieth

 Group 3 – Henrik Stenson, Bill Haas, Brendon Todd & John Senden

This is where we will get our first upset.  Stenson is the third best player on the planet, and he’s won this tournament before, but he’s not getting out of this group.  Senden is a nice player, and Todd is one of the best putters on tour, but it won’t be them taking down the long hitting Sweed, it will be Haas.  One of the forgotten FedEx Cup Champions of the past is the only one in the group with a win this year, and is an underrated player each week.  Winner: Bill Haas

Group 4 – Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen, Keegan Bradley & Miguel Angel Jimenez

I desperately want to pick golf’s “Most Interesting Man in the World” but I’ll have to pass on Jimenez.  The other players make this a very difficult pick, and I don’t like any of them.  When it comes to Bubba, I still have yet to get on board with him unless it’s at The Masters.  Ooosthuizen has one of the best looking swings in the game but other than his dominating Open Championship in 2010, and runner-up finish to Watson at the 2012 Masters what has he done?  Based on his love for match play in the Ryder Cup I’ll take Bradley as an upset pick in this group. Winner: Keegan Bradley


Group 5 – Jim Furyk, Martin Kaymer, Tongchai Jaidee & George Coetzee

A group with less star power than the Wizards Vs. Raptors playoff match up in the NBA may also be one of the easier ones to predict.  The logical choice would be defending Players & U.S. Open Champion Martin Kaymer, but he has yet to find his groove so far this year.  Coetzee is a good European player, and Jaidee is becoming more and mor of a household name.  Furyk won two weeks ago at Hilton Head and he’ll move on to the field of sixteen this week.  Winner: Jim Furyk 

Group 6 – Justin Rose, Ryan Palmer, Anirban Lahiri, Marc Leishman

Fresh off his blazing finish on Sunday at Zurich Classic Justin Rose is arguably the hottest player in the field this week.  Let’s also not forget that he was a runner-up at Augusta as well.  Ryan Palmer is a solid player and Marc Leisman is a past tour winner.  Sometimes the pick is as easy as it looks on paper.  Winner: Justin Rose 

Group 7 – Jason Day, Zach Johnson, Branden Grace & Charley Hoffman

This is one of the more intriguing groups out there, even if they may not be your typical headliners.  Day is the defending champion of the event and has a solid season even though he didn’t get it done this past week in New Orleans.  Johnson is no stranger to match play competition and Grace and Hoffman are two dangerous higher ranked players.  I thought that Hoffman could be a sleeper this week and he may very well win a match or two in this group, but when it’s all said and done my money is on the Aussie.  Winner: Jason Day

 Group 8 – Dustin Johnson, Victor Dubuisson, Charl Schwartzel & Matt Jones

Do you remember when Dubuisson stole the show at last year’s Match Play?  His Houdini act in the desert wasn’t good enough to get him a victory but it did go a long way in getting him on the European Ryder Cup team.  Charl Schwartzel is looking more and more like a flash in the pan Masters winner and Matt Jones has played well in this event in the past.  Dubuisson could make things interesting but not enough to take down Dustin Johnson who at times this year has looked unbeatable.  Winner: Dustin Johnson.

 Group 9 – Adam Scott, Chris Kirk, Paul Casey & Francisco Molinari

In this group you’ll find one of my favorite players of the week.  Not it’s not Adam Scott and his anchored putter.  I’ve liked Chris Kirk in the past and he had a great FedEx Cup playoff run last year but this won’t be his week.  Francisco Molinari is a great ball striker and has found success on the European Tour but not yet in the states.  Then we get to Paul Casey who is finally healthy and playing much better in 2014.  Look for him to not only be the upset pick in this group he may be a dark horse to win the whole thing.  Winner: Paul Casey

 Group 10 – Sergio Garcia, Jamie Donaldson, Bernd Weisberger & Tommy Fleetwood

First of all who the heck is Tommy Fleetwood?  I watch plenty of golf and I’ve never heard of the guy.  Jamie Donaldson is a solid player and Weisberger was a lot of people’s dark horse pick for a solid Masters.  That being said I’m going with the Ryder Cup veteran Sergio Garcia who is still searching for a major, but is good enough to move on to the weekend.  Winner: Sergio Garcia

 Group 11 – Jimmy Walker, Ian Poulter, Webb Simpson & Gary Woodland

This is the only group where picking the best ranked player is considered an upset.  Jimmy Walker has been one the best players on tour over the past two and a half years.  Webb Simpson was poised for big things after winning the 2012 U.S. Open but has yet to live up to those expectations.  Gary Woodland can hit it a mile and can really go low at times.  Then there’s Ian Poulter who may be the best match play player on the planet.  The famed “Poulter Eyes” have dominated the Ryder Cup and this event as well, that being said I’m taking the “upset.”  Winner: Jimmy Walker

 Group 12 – J.B Holmes, Brooks Koepka, Russell Henley & Marc Warren

I absolutely love this group, even if the rest of the planet has no idea who these guys are.  By letting tournaments at Torrey Pines and Doral slip through his fingers, Holmes has already had plenty of heartbreak this season.  Brooks Koepka started the year with high expectations and won in Phoenix.  Russell Henley has the game to win big, and he showed that by going toe-to-toe with Rory McIlroy in 2014 at the Honda, and that’s why I like him this week.  Winner: Russell Henley

 Group 13 – Rickie Fowler, Graeme McDowell, Shane Lowy & Harris English

Rickie Fowler in my estimation has been the season’s biggest disappointment.  Despite a good weekend at The Masters he has pretty much done nothing in a year that many proclaimed was going to be a “big one” for him.  Graeme McDowell has struggled this year as well but at least he has the Ryder Cup pedigree that Fowler doesn’t.  Harris English can hit it a mile and contended at Torrey Pines in February. Then we get to Shane Lowry who makes most of his bones in Europe, but in America he did manage to upset Rory McIlory in 2013.  Winner – Shane Lowry

 Group 14 – Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Stephen Gallacher & Ben Martin

Well we’ve seen Kuchar and Mahan in this setting before.  Except in 2013 it was in the championship match in the unexpectedly cold Arizona desert.  Kuchar got the best of Mahan and he’ll do that again in this group, but look out for Gallacher to make things interesting.  Winner: Matt Kuchar

Group 15 – Patrick Reed, Ryan Moore, Danny Willet & Andy Sullivan

With all do respect to Willet and Sullivan this group is all about Moore and Reed and the PGA Tour has done a great job in scheduling their match to be on Friday with most likely a trip to the next round on the line.  They’ve both won this season and could easily have multiple wins right now.  I think the slight edge goes to Reed who could thrive in a head-to-head setting like this.  Winner: Patrick Reed

Group 16 – Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Na, Joost luiten & Alexander Levy

We have reached the final group and there are no fireworks at the end here that’s for sure.  In what is probably the least spectacular grouping of the event, I’m going to go with Hideki Matsuyama to get things done and move on from this group.  I’m going to disagree with PGATour.com’s website that has him #2 in the power rankings, but he’s definitely the best player in this group.

PGATour.com contributed to this piece.

Next: No Phil Mickelson at The Match Play

More from Pro Golf Now