The bracket for this year’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play dropped on Monday as Austin Country Club prepares to host the unique event for a final time this week.
Sunday evening may very well signal the end of the Match Play era on the PGA’s calendar indefinitely. Regardless of whether or not Match Play events will have a new home at some point in the future, the World Golf Championship era appears to be coming to a close.
PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan all but confirmed as much when he spoke to the media ahead of the recent Players Championship. This came to fruition just a month after Golfweek had reported that 2023 would be the final year that Austin Country Club would play host to the Match Play event.
Austin Country Club has hosted the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play since 2016 when the event shifted to its more permanent location following a handful of years at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain in Arizona.
The Par 71, Pete Dye design which plays to right around 7,100 yards has been the perfect home for golf’s version of ‘March Madness’ since Jason Day first lifted the trophy here seven years ago. A fantastic blend of reachable Par 5s and short risk-reward Par 4s has provided the perfect backdrop for this unique event.
With a front nine that plays through parts of the Texas Hill Country and a back nine that plays along the lowlands near Lake Austin, the Pete Dye picturesque layout has been one of the more unique stops on the Tour schedule in recent years.
The WGC-Dell Match Play slots into the 2023 schedule as one of the Tour’s designated events, meaning that the final rendition of this tournament will feature one the largest purses on the PGA calendar this year.
43 of the world’s top 50 players will compete for a share of the 20 million dollar prize on offer this week in Texas.
The field of 64 players this week is derived entirely from OWGR rankings prior to the conclusion of last week’s Valspar Championship. The only players who aren’t amongst this week’s contingent are those who have gone to the LIV Tour, and both Justin Thomas and Justin Rose who each elected to forgo this event during the build-up to the Masters in a couple of weeks’ time.
As in previous years, this week’s field was broken down into 16 groups of four and seeded based on their position in the OWGR. Each golfer will compete against each of the other three members who comprise the group once on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, before a group winner is determined.
Group winners advance to the ‘sweet 16’ and it’s single elimination across Saturday and Sunday until a champion is crowned.
The field is set, the groups are drawn, and the bracket is ready to be filled out. All that’s left to do is predict how things will unfold, let’s see if we can’t do exactly that!
The Top Seeds at The 2023 WGC-Dell Match Play
2023 WGC-Dell Match Play Groups and Picks
Scottie Scheffler (1) – Tom Kim (17) – Alex Noren (38) – Davis Riley (54)
Pick: Scottie Scheffler
It’s difficult to pick against a player who has reached the final of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in each of the last two years. The defending Match Play champion already successfully defended his WM Phoenix Open title in February and it would be a pretty big shock if the world number one failed to get out of group one this week.
Last year’s champion has a phenomenal Match Play record overall but he did struggle a bit at the Presidents Cup last year where he went 0-3-1 and was beaten in his singles match by Sebastian Munoz by a 2&1 margin. If there is to be an upset here, keep an eye on Alex Noren who has a 12-5 record at Austin Country Club.
But the pick is Scheffler until proven otherwise.
Jon Rahm (2) – Billy Horschel (22) – Keith Mitchell (39) – Rickie Fowler (49)
Pick: Jon Rahm
This is a tricky draw for the Spaniard who has been pitted against a former WGC-Dell Match Play champion in Billy Horschel (2021), and two other players coming in with fantastic recent form. The edge, however, goes to Rahm even after having to withdraw from the Players Championship in his last start.
Mitchell has played this event twice and on both occasions failed to get out of the group, Rickie Fowler has played at Austin Country Club just once previously in 2016 when he went 0-2-1, and Horschel comes into this week having missed four cuts in his last six starts on Tour.
Meanwhile, Rahm has advanced to the knockout stage here in each of the past two years and went all the way to the final back in 2017.