This week’s WGC–Dell Technologies Match Play represents the most unique format on the PGA TOUR. Instead of the usual 72-hole stroke play events that the players see every week, the players will be going head-to-head against a fellow professional for up to seven matches.
The field is comprised of the top 64 players in the world is divided into 16 groups of four players each. Each player in a group plays a match against the other players in the group, with the winner of the group advancing to the round of 16.
The rest of the tournament is conducted in a standard match play event format, with the match winners advancing to the next round and the losers eliminated from the tournament. The exception is that the semifinal match losers play each other, with the winner earning a third-place finish.
The nature of the format makes the tournament especially difficult to handicap, as a bad round can eliminate a player, or a hot 18 holes can advance one, no matter how his opponent plays. Even given those uncertainties, 13 of the 21 past champions were major tournament winners.
It’s hard not to go with DeChambeau, after his recent win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. His free-swinging, high-risk style of play is almost tailor-made for match play.
Betting Odds at WGC – Match Play
Not unexpectedly, the past three major tournament winners and the reigning Players champion are all at or near the top of the odds list. U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas, the winner of THE PLAYERS Championship two weeks ago, are at 12-1 odds to emerge as winners of the Dell Technologies Match Play.
Masters champion Dustin Johnson and 2017 Dell winner is at 14-1 along with Jon Rahm. Four-time major champion and winner of the 2015 Match Play, Rory McIlroy, rounds out the top five at 20-1 odds. Collin Morikawa, PGA Championship victor, is close behind at 22-1.
It’s hard not to go with DeChambeau, after his recent win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. His free-swinging, high-risk style of play is almost tailor-made for match play. An errant drive that might cost him a couple of shots in stroke play only results in one lost hole in match play.
In addition, his prodigious length can be demoralizing in a head-to-head format. He also drew a relatively favorable group with Tommy Fleetwood, Si Woo Kim and relative unknown Antoine Rozner.
Johnson also faces a group that should allow him to advance to the round of 16, even though his play hasn’t been particularly solid in the last month. I like him over Thomas, primarily because Thomas has to defeat past winners Matt Kuchar and Kevin Kisner, not to mention tough Louis Oosthuizen, in the group stage.
At 25-1, Patrick Reed can still be considered a favorite. The winner at the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year, Reed is a fierce competitor with a strong record in Ryder and President Cup matches.
He’s had a solid 2021 season after finishing in the top 10 in the FedEx Cup standings in 2020 after a tie for eighth in the Tour Championship.