Tournament: World Golf Championships - Dell Technologies Match Play, March 21-25, 2018
Course: Austin Country Club, 7,108 yards, par 71 (Austin, TX)
Defending Champion: Dustin Johnson. Blowing most everyone into nearby Lake Austin with his power, Johnson held off Jon Rahm in the finals to capture his 3rd victory in as many starts and solidified his place at #1 in the world.
Fun Fact: In previous iterations of this tourney, no less than six winners have come from rankings 20th or worse. In fact, the #62 seed Kevin Sutherland beat #45 see Scott McCarron in the 2002 edition. The inaugural Match Play saw #24 Jeff Maggert best #50 Andrew Magee. So there really are Cinderellas out there in this dance.
Television: Wednesday-Friday, 2-8 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (GC), 2-6 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (GC), 3-7 p.m. (NBC).
Former 'Dawgs in the Field ( Four ): Kevin Kisner, Brian Harman, Russell Henley, Bubba Watson
If a certain format takes the world by storm for a few weeks every year, what would you do as a competing entity? I guess if you can’t beat ‘em, emulate ‘em. And that is what we have this week with the Dell Match Play.
The top 64 golfers (and immediately below if someone withdraws) are invited and seeded, with draws into group play, then a round of 16, quarters, semis, and a final. The group play consists of 4 players (1 from top 16, 1 from 17-32, 1 from 33-48, 1 from 49-64) for round robin play before the winner of each group advances. Apparently this is not a novel approach, and RedCrake tells me they do something like this in the niche’ sport of futbol. I wouldn’t know, because my country doesn’t compete in that sport.
Kevin Kisner was the #32 seed and joins world #1 Dustin Johnson, Canadian Adam Hadwin, and Bernd Wiesberger in group 1.
Brian Harman was drawn into group 6 as a #18 seed, but will face suddenly resurgent Rory McIlroy, Peter Uihlein, and former UT Longhorn Jhonattan Vegas.
Bubba Watson is the 35 seed, and is paired against Marc Leishman, Brendan Grace, and Julian Suri in group 11. Leishman played well last week and has had his best 12 months as a pro. Grace was top 10 in the world but has faded the last 6-9 months and I’m not familiar with Suri.
Russell Henley might have the most competitive group. In #10, Henley will face Paul Casey (winner 2 weeks ago), Matthew Fitzpatrick, and Kyle Stanley.
Wednesday-Friday will be the group play so each of our Bulldogs will have an 18 hole match against the others in their respective group. 1 point for a win, half point for a tie/halve. Whomever has the most points Friday night will advance to the round of 16 where they will play Saturday and advance to Saturday afternoon for the quarterfinals. Then the semi-finals Sunday morning with the final Sunday afternoon. Lots of golf and 7 matches for the finalists. At least our boys aren’t grouped together so there’s a better chance for some or all of them to advance.
If your basketball bracket is busted, flip it on over to Golf Channel and NBC for more bracketology and Cinderella stories. And yes, there absolutely are online brackets you can fill out for this too (I admit I did it one year, but it now seems a bit... much).
And as always….