The world’s best players head for Austin, Texas this week for the year's second WGC
WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Preview, TV Times
The world’s best head to Austin, Texas this week for the second World Golf Championship of the year at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
The field is, as always, made up of 64 players and pretty much all of the world’s top stars are teeing up just two weeks before Augusta.
In fact, Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott are the only two big name players to miss out.
World Number One Dustin Johnson won this tournament in 2017 and picked up his sixth WGC title in Mexico last month.
Rory McIlroy heads into the week knowing that victory could put him back to World Number One for the first time since August 2015.
Justin Rose plays, as does Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, two-time WGC-Match Play winner Jason Day and a certain 14-time Major winner in Tiger Woods.
Woods has won this event three times, in 2003, 2004 and 2008.
The 42-year-old, much like many in the field this week, plays his final event before the Masters with the season now well under way.
The format for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play changed from straight knockout in 2015 and the round-robin system will be used again this year.
16 groups of four players will play each other between Wednesday and Friday with the winner of each four-man group going on to the knockout stages.
The top 16 seeds are allocated to each group and the remaining 48 players are placed into three pools (seeds 17–32, seeds 33–48 and seeds 49–64). Each group has one player randomly selected from each pool to complete the group. The leading players after the round-robin stages will go on to contest the knockout rounds.
Here’s the 2019 draw –
First contested in 1999, the Match Play is one of the most exciting and unpredictable tournaments of the year. This will be the 21st running of the event. Upsets are always possible and there have been some unlikely winners over the years – Jeff Maggert in the first year and Kevin Sutherland in 2002 for instance. In 2000, Darren Clarke secured a memorable 4&3 victory over Tiger Woods.
Last year, Bubba Watson won his second World Golf Championship after beating Kevin Kisner 7&6 in the final.
Austin Country Club in Texas is a historic club with origins dating back to 1899 but the course is a good deal newer than that – it’s a Pete Dye design that was completed in the 1980s. The course is split into two distinct nines – the front side is played over higher ground through Texas hill country while the run for home runs alongside Lake Austin.
The weather forecast looks a little mixed. It looks fair for the first three days but there is a risk of thunderstorms and rain on the weekend.
Venue: Austin Country Club, Austin, Texas
Date: Mar 27-31
Course stats: par 71, 7,108 yards
Defending champion: Bubba Watson
How to watch the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
Wednesday 27th, Thursday 28th
Featured groups – Sky Sports Main Event (14:15), Sky Sports Golf (14:15)
Main action – Sky Sports Golf (18:00), Sky Sports Main Event (18:00), Sky Sports Main Event (22:30)
Featured groups – Live WGC, Sky Sports Golf (14:15), Sky Sports Main Event (17:00)
Main action – Sky Sports Main Event (18:00), Sky Sports Golf (18:00), Sky Sports Main Event (22:00)
Sky Sports Golf (14:00), Sky Sports Main Event (15:15)
Sky Sports Golf (15:00), Sky Sports Main Event (19:00)
Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship?
Players to watch:
Dustin Johnson – The World Number One won here in 2017 and has been the king of the WGCs with six in the last five and a half years.
Jon Rahm – The Spaniard is on a great run of form with eight top-10s in his last 10 starts, plus a T12 which was at the Players where he led after 54-holes. Rahm was runner-up here two years ago to DJ.
Paul Casey – Having won last week, it will be unlikely he wins again…however, Casey is a great match player with a good Ryder Cup record, a win at the old HSBC World Match Play at Wentworth and two runners-up finishes here in 2008 and 2009
Key holes: The stretch from the 12th to the 14th can be crucial. The 12th is a reachable par-5 with water threatening, the next is a short par-4 that should yield birdies but, again, the water is a factor, then the 14th is a testing par-4 and we could see pars winning the hole on this one.
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