|2021||Austin Country Club||Billy Horschel|
2021: Billy Horschel
The introduction of a group stage in the WGC Matchplay was done as a courtesy to sponsors and television companies who had grown tired of the biggest, most marketable names being knocked out in the first round. Although we did see the likes of Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas for three days in Texas, Jon Rahm was the only player in the top 16 seeds who made it out of their group.
The big names were further thinned out as the tournament progressed and we ended up with Billy Horschel winning. His victory was predicted by just 0.02% of fans who completed the official tournament bracket but the quality of his play coming into the event (he finished runner up in the WGC Workday Championship) and his usually excellent ball striking meant Horschel’s win was perhaps more surprising than it should have been. Or less surprising depending on how you look at it!
As a match play tournament, performance in this event always leads to speculation about who will get a spot in the Ryder Cup. From a European perspective, the performance of Victor Perez was particularly appealing. The Frenchman made it to the semi finals to further strengthen his position inside the automatic qualification berths for a place at Whistling Straits.