It’s the second WGC event of the season this week as the top 64 ranked players in the world descend on San Francisco for the Cadillac Match Play. TPC Harding Park is not a course that too many of the players are familiar with but when you’re playing one-on-one course knowledge is not the most important factor.
Winning match play tournaments often comes down to consistency from tee-to-green and the ability to hole putts under pressure. Those players who prefer to take more risks will likely have to reign in their natural instincts until the latter stages of their matches.
For the first time ever, the WGC-Cadillac Match Play will be employing a group stage format. Previous tournaments have always been straight knock-out which provided great entertainment but was difficult on players who travelled thousands of miles for 18 holes and for sponsors who hated the idea of the best players making an early exit. So, the WGC drew 16 groups, each of which contained one of the top 16 seeds, decided by world ranking.
The top two seeds are Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. McIlroy has been the number one player in the world for some time now but he is being strongly challenged by Spieth who secured his first Major a few weeks ago at the Masters. That week, Spieth showed he is capable of both blowing away the field and playing steady, safety-first golf. His putting is so good that he will be incredibly difficult to beat this week.
McIlroy still has that special something which sets him apart from the rest, but he needs a level of consistency that has so far not been too evident this season for any chance of claiming the title. Both can be backed at 10/1 with Ladbrokes and both are so good it is down to you to decide whether stability and great putting or the ability to do something special and unique will guarantee success this week.
One of the best things about the match play from a betting perspective is the number of different markets available to bet on. Not only can you bet on each individual match, the bookies are also offering markets on the group winners. So, let’s look at three players to back to win their groups.
First, there’s the runner-up of last year’s match play, Victor Dubuisson. His price of 3/1 to win group eight is big because he’s not one of the top seeds and has to have a better record than Dustin Johnson who’s looked brilliant since returning this season. However, Johnson’s powerful game may not prove to be as well suited for match play as the Frenchman’s accuracy and delicate short game.
Second, Justin Rose came back to form when finishing tied for second at the Masters and winning last week’s Zurich Classic. The Englishman who has plenty of Ryder Cup experience is 11/10 to top his group. The third player to back to win his group is Jason Day who’s also 11/10. He does have an incredibly aggressive game but showed he can pick and choose his moments when he won this tournament last season. All those prices are with BetVictor and combining them into a treble makes nice odds of 16/1.