Met their match: WGC-Match Play brackets set

By Ryan LavnerMarch 21, 2017, 12:55 am

Golf’s version of March Madness gets underway Wednesday at Austin Country Club.

But unlike the NCAA Tournament, which saw favorites Villanova, Duke and Louisville fail to survive the first weekend, there will be no early exits this week at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

All 64 players are guaranteed to play at least three matches. Sixteen groups of four players compete in pool play Wednesday through Friday. The winner of each group advances to the single-elimination knockout stage over the weekend.

Sixty-four of the top 70 players in the world are in the field, with Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose and Adam Hadwin opting not to play.

“It’s fun how it’s done now,” said Jordan Spieth, who is back in Austin, where he helped Texas win a NCAA team title in 2012. “It’s an opportunity for us to play more rounds, but also for the fans and the viewing audience to see players they want to see play multiple rounds instead of just one round on Wednesday and you’re out. The draw is the draw – you’ve got to play well no matter what.” 


Full bracket for the WGC-Dell Match Play

Tee times for Day 1 of the WGC-Dell Match Play


The top player with the most difficult draw is Hideki Matsuyama, who will have to face Louis Oosthuizen, who is 13-3 in this event the past three years, Ross Fisher, who tied for third at the WGC-Mexico earlier this month, and Jim Furyk, who has plenty of match-play experience.

Not far behind is the All-American Group 9, where top seed Patrick Reed will have to get past Brooks Koepka, Kevin Kisner and Jason Dufner. Interestingly, the lower seeds arrive in Texas playing the best in the group: Kisner, who tied for second at Bay Hill, and Dufner, who has four consecutive top 25s.  

The top overall seed is Dustin Johnson, but he has a treacherous road ahead, with four major champions in his group – reigning PGA champion Jimmy Walker, two-time winner Martin Kaymer and former U.S. Open champ Webb Simpson. The Match Play is the only WGC event that Johnson hasn’t won.

Defending champion Jason Day drew Bay Hill winner Marc Leishman, veteran Lee Westwood and fiery Pat Perez.

Of course, there is no easy route to victory when the best players in the world go head to head.

Since switching to the round-robin format, players ranked in the top 2 in the world have won each of the past two years: Rory McIlroy in 2015 and Day last year, when he shook off an early-week back injury to capture the title.

McIlroy has an 11-2-1 record in this event, after cruising to victory at TPC Harding Park. The player he beat in the final there – Gary Woodland – will get a chance at a rematch in pool play.

“I’m proud of my match-play record,” McIlroy said, “I feel like I’m good in that part of the game. I really pride myself on playing match play.”

Here are all of the groups:

Group 1: Dustin Johnson, Jimmy Walker (18), Martin Kaymer (41), Webb Simpson (58)

Group 2: Rory McIlroy, Emiliano Grillo (26), Gary Woodland (33), Soren Kjeldsen (62)

Group 3: Jason Day, Marc Leishman (28), Lee Westwood (43), Pat Perez (56)

Group 4: Hideki Matsuyama, Louis Oosthuizen (23), Ross Fisher (47), Jim Furyk (51)

Group 5: Jordan Spieth, Ryan Moore (32), Yuta Ikeda (37), Hideto Tanihara (54)

Group 6: Justin Thomas, Matt Fitzpatrick (27), Kevin Na (46), Chris Wood (49)

Group 7: Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm (21), Kevin Chappell (38), Shane Lowry (53)

Group 8: Alex Noren, Francesco Molinari (25), Bernd Wiesberger (36), Thongchai Jaidee (57)

Group 9: Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka (20), Kevin Kisner (34), Jason Dufner (59)

Group 10: Tyrrell Hatton, Rafa Cabrera Bello (22), Jeunghun Wang (40), Charles Howell III (61)

Group 11: Danny Willett, Russell Knox (17), Bill Haas (42), K.T. Kim (64)

Group 12: Paul Casey, Charl Schwartzel (24), Byeong-Hun An (45), Joost Luiten (60)

Group 13: Bubba Watson, Thomas Pieters (30), Scott Piercy (39), Jhonattan Vegas (55)

Group 14: Phil Mickelson, J.B. Holmes (31), Daniel Berger (35), Si Woo Kim (63)

Group 15: Branden Grace, Brandt Snedeker (19), William McGirt (48), Andy Sullivan (52)

Group 16: Matt Kuchar, Tommy Fleetwood (29), Zach Johnson (44), Brendan Steele (50)

Getty Images

Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm