WGC-Dell Technologies Matchplay Betting Tips & Results

The idea behind the World Golf Championships was that each of the four tournaments would have something special to differentiate them from the others. In truth, it can be a bit difficult to point out just what it is that makes the three stroke play events unique but the WGC Dell Technologies Matchplay really does stand out from the crowd. It’s one of the very few top-level matchplay tournaments and as such it is a real favourite of the players who qualify.

The tournament has moved around America since its inaugural event in 1999. There was also one year in 2001 when the WGC organisers tried something different by moving it to Australia but, disappointingly, it proved to be too far away from the usual haunts to attract a genuinely world-class field. After years in California and Arizona, the WGC Matchplay moved eastwards in 2017 to Austin, Texas where it has found a high class and very popular host venue in Austin Country Club.

Betting Tips for 23rd to 27th March 2022

The world of golf continues to be obsessed by the threat of breakaway tours which, depending on your view, are either shameless money grabs which threaten the integrity of the sport or a breath of fresh air which will give golf a much needed shake up. For now, at least, most of the best players seem committed to the status quo but who knows how long they will be able to resist the lure of a huge payrise.

Whatever your view, there is no doubt that professional golf is going to change in the next few years. Even big supporters of the PGA Tour like Rory McIlroy have said that new, different events would be warmly welcome. That makes it a little surprising that McIlroy has pulled out of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match-Play, one of the very few events that is not a bog standard 72-hole stroke play tournament.

McIlroy is joined on the sidelines by Players Championship winner Cameron Smith but this remains a very strong field. That field of 64 has been seeded and drawn into groups, with each golfer playing a match on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before the knockout stages take place over the weekend. This is the biggest and best match play event in the world right now and whoever wins will have to show mental fortitude and a lot of resilience.

Winning the WGC Match Play also requires a lot of stamina. It also requires proven match play ability and a game that is suited to Austin Country Club. Approach play and putting are the key skills required in this part of Texas. That approach play is tested by the changes in elevation of the course and also by the changing nature of the course as the front and back nines vary significantly in feel. In addition, putting, especially when the heat is on, is always important in match play. A good week on the greens can frustrate opponents when players don’t have their best stuff and extend an advantage when they’re on point from tee to green.

Like the rest of his European teammates, Shane Lowry didn’t have the best time of it during last year’s Ryder Cup. The Irishman showed that he loves match play golf though and the way he took to the Ryder Cup on his debut suggests he will be part of European teams for some time. Lowry arrives in Texas on the back of some very good play during the Florida Swing and he looks primed to have his best result in the WGC Match Play at odds of 40/1. He might not go all the way but we certainly fancy he is overpriced and should give us a run for our money.

Another player to have onside is Kevin Kisner, who has an excellent record since the WGC Match Play moved to Austin. After just about running out of steam in the 2018 final he returned one year later to win the tournament. That remains his sole WGC title and the Match Play remains his best chance of winning another of these big events. As well as loving the course, Kisner’s game is in good shape as he showed when finishing fourth at the Players Championship. If he gets through a tough group alongside Justin Thomas, Marc Leishman and Luke List, Kisner can go all the way so back him at 55/1.

The final player to consider in the Match Play is Brian Harman who is still available at the massive price of 66/1. Harman is one of the hardiest golfers on the PGA Tour. More often than not he has to compete on a golf course that doesn’t suit his game as he is one of the shortest hitters around. What he lacks in distance he makes up with relentless quality into the greens and when his putter is firing, he is an awful draw for anybody in match play. Expect Harman to add to his two strong WGC Match Play finishes.

Past Winners

Year Course Winner
2022 Austin Country Club Scottie Scheffler
2021 Austin Country Club Billy Horschel
2020 Cancelled n/a
2019 Austin Country Club Kevin Kisner
2018 Austin Country Club Bubba Watson

2022: Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler arrived at Austin Country Club in the form of his life ahead of the 2022 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. The 25 year old built upon that form, which had seen him win two of his previous four tournaments, to win the Match Play and become the number one-ranked player in the world. Scheffler attended the Match Play as a 19 year old fan and dreamed of winning. That dream came true in front of his delighted family and a very impressed golfing public.

For all that there was a sense of inevitability about Scheffler beating perennial Match Play contender Kevin Kisner in the final, Scheffler had to rely on some luck earlier in the tournament. Matt Fitzpatrick missed a putt in the group stage which would have eliminated Scheffler. However, that putt narrowly missed and Scheffler took full advantage.

There is some debate about whether a player without a major championship win can ever truly be the best in the world. Scheffler’s imperious recent form and his wins in the knockout stages of the Match Play over Billy Horschel, Seamus Power and Dustin Johnson suggested that he is very much the best of the best though.

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!

Billy Horschel is one of golf’s hardest workers. He works on all aspects of his game, on his fitness and on his plans for the tournament ahead. There is no doubt that Horschel looked carefully at Kevin Kisner’s win in the 2019 WGC Dell Technologies Matchplay as his approach to the 2021 renewal was remarkably similar. Horschel focussed on keeping the mistakes at bay and allowing his opponents to lose rather than going out to win. That allowed him to conserve some energy and made him a very frustrating opponent, two considerable factors in his maiden World Golf Championship win.

Horschel’s run to the knockout stage of the tournament was not perfect. He lost his second group match against J T Poston but wins over Max Homa and Collin Morikawa saw him sneak through. From there, he beat Kevin Streelman 3&1 on Saturday morning before requiring an extra hole to see off Tommy Fleetwood on Saturday afternoon.

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.

2020: Cancelled

The 2020 tournament was cancelled.

2019: Kevin Kisner

The increasing athleticism, strength and power of golfers has arguably had a bigger impact on the game than anything else in the last decade. While Kevin Kisner doesn’t rank anywhere near the top of those pushing the needle in terms of driving distance, he had his improved fitness levels to thank for his win at the 2019 WGC Dell Technologies Matchplay.

Twelve months earlier, Kisner showed just how well suited his game is to matchplay events and to Austin Country Club when making it all the way to the WGC Matchplay final. However, he tailed away tamely against Bubba Watson. There was to be no repeat this time around. He managed to maintain the quality of his golf right through to the final in which he beat Matt Kuchar 3&2.

Getting the job done against a player of Kuchar’s calibre and experience was all the more impressive as Kisner’s semi final against Lucas Bjerregaard went all the way to the 18th hole. Doing so owed as much to his ability to play so much golf and to his style of play. He was relentlessly consistent, steadily applying the pressure before his opponents cracked. “It was a long week,” said Kisner. “I prevailed and I’m a world golf champion.”

2018: Bubba Watson

In the head to head nature of the WGC Matchplay, doing things differently can often unsettle an opponent. Bubba Watson has done things differently his whole golfing career so he puts his opponents ill at ease before their match even gets underway. The two time Masters champion was able to use his own ‘Bubba golf’ style of play to full effect at Austin Country Club, going all the way to win the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Matchplay.

The most impressive element of Watson’s play was the way he seemed to get stronger as the tournament went on. He had to play a lot of golf against some incredibly talented players to make it to the final four but he was at his best on Sunday. After taking care of Justin Thomas 3&2 in the semi final, Watson wiped the floor with a very tired Kevin Kisner, winning the tournament on the 12th hole.

For all that Kisner was a long way below his best, Watson can take great heart from winning via the most one-sided final since the WGC Matchplay changed format in 2011. He certainly took great heart from the state of his game and will carry the swagger of a confident golfer for some time.