From format to field, how the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play works

From format to field, how the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play works
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The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship begins Wednesday at Austin Country Club. The early-week start isn’t the only difference for this PGA Tour stop. Here’s how the tournament works:

Field size: Sixty-four players comprise the field, based off the Official World Golf Ranking as of March 15. If any player decides not to compete, he is replaced in order of the ranking at the cut-off date.

Format: The 64 players are divided into 16 groups of four (click here for this year’s groups). Each player will compete in match play against the other three players within his group over the first three days. A match victory is worth one point. A tied match is worth a half-point. A loss is worth zero points.

The player with the most points in his group after three days of round-robin play will advance to the knockout stage (click here for the full bracket).

If two or more players are tied in their group after the three pool-play matches, then those players will compete in a stroke-play, sudden-death playoff to determine who advances.

Sixteen players will qualify for the single-elimination portion. Here’s how the week’s schedule plays out:

  • Wednesday: Group play
  • Thursday: Group play
  • Friday: Group play
  • Saturday: Round of 16 (morning); quarterfinals (afternoon)
  • Sunday: Semifinals (morning); finals and third-place match (afternoon)

What is match play? Instead of players competing against par, like in stroke play, they compete against each other in one-on-one matches. If a player scores lower on a hole than his opponent, he wins the hole. Once a player is leading by more holes than there are to play, then he is declared the winner.

Holes can be tied and so, too, can be matches – in pool play. Over the first three days, matches conclude after 18 holes, even if tied (half-points are awarded). Once the knockout stage begins, a winner must be declared so players will compete in sudden death if tied after 18 holes.

How are the groups determined? The top 16 committed players, based on the OWGR, head each group. That is the “A” player. Each group also has a “B” player, a randomly drawn player among the next 16 committed players in the rankings; a “C” player from the next 16 committed players in the rankings; and a “D” player from the final 16 committed players in the rankings.

Click here for course and purse information as well as the TV schedule.

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