Coop’s WGC Match Play Preview

It was very nice of DK to come up with a new format for golf so that we don’t skip a week with the top pro’s as we can now play this weeks World Golf Championship Match Play event. This will be the fourth year that the WGC is using the current format for this tournament, more on that below. It will also be the third year that the WGC is using the Austin Country Club in Austin Texas for this event. Since this is a match play concept the format of my blog will be different this week. I am not as much worried about the stats of players as I am who is in what pool along with who has played well in match play. Match play is different than the typical stroke play as you are competing against one person at a time one hole at a time trying to win as many holes as possible were as with stroke play you are playing against many competitors along with the course. This creates a different mindset that some players prefer while others like Justin Rose doesn’t enjoy as he says the format is not the greatest for his Masters prep. Match play allows the players to be aggressive at the beginning and attempt shots that they most likely wouldn’t if it was a stroke play tournament. If these aggressive shots don’t pan out you simply lose the hole and move to the next one. This is also why you typically see the big names struggle during this event as there aggressiveness has a tendency to lose out verse the safe conservative player.

DK SCORING
3 points to win a hole
.75 points holes halved
-.75 points holes lost
1.6 points for holes not played, only applies to the winner
5 points for winning a match
2 points for match halved
7.5 points if you don’t lose a hole in a match, don’t expect this to happen
Playoff holes count toward the point total

FORMAT
64 players broken into 16 groups of four
Wednesday thru Friday you play one round daily against the players within your group
The golfer that accumulates the most points in each group advances to the round of 16 on Saturday
A win is one point and a tie after 18 holes is a half a point each
Saturday am there are eight matches, see below on how this is determined on who plays who
Saturday pm there are four matches that involve the winners of the am match
Sunday am there are two matches with the winners advancing to play each other
Sunday pm is the championship match along with the 3/4 place match between the two am losers

STRATEGY
As mentioned above my main strategy is to ignore stats and the course and focus on groupings and previous match play experience. There should be a edge in the match play DFS format for the reasons laid out below.
1. People will select two golfers from the same four person group decreasing there chances to get six players in the final sixteen. This won’t happen often but more than one would think.
2. People will select two golfers from the same two groups that face off against each other in the round of 16 decreasing there chances to get six golfers to the final eight. While there are many brackets available to help you avoid this there will be many people who don’t use them.
3. People will select the name players increasing there ownership while the mid tier to bottom tier will go low owned.
Your goal needs to be getting the most players to the round of 16 and round of 8 and think of that as your 6/6 and if you don’t follow number one and two listed above you’re limiting the chances of this happening.

I will give the players who perform better in the following a slight advantage. Bermuda greens, Pete Dye Courses, bogey avoidance and players who play better in the wind as on Thursday and Friday we should be seeing 13-15mph winds with gusts of 20-25mph. I will also have a slightly larger pool than normal with a more balanced ownership approach because WGC match play can be unpredictable. As I have said many times there is not much difference between a number one ranked player and a number 64 ranked player on a daily basis as it is over the course of time that consistency makes a player higher ranked. If Dustin Johnson played Luke List on a daily basis for 7 consecutive days it would not surprise me if Luke List won the match 3-4 times.

Players who made it to round of 16 last year and there world golf ranking at the time
Dustin Johnson 1
Alexander Noren 8
Paul Casey 12
Bubba Watson 13
Phil Mickelson 14
Brooks Koepka 20
Jon Rahm 21
Mark Leishman 28
Bill Haas 42
Zach Johnson 44
Kevin Na 46
Ross Fisher 47
William McGirt 48
Hideto Tanihara 54
Charles Howell 61
Soren Kjeldsen 62

Players who made it to round of 16 the year before last and there world golf ranking at the time
Jordan Spieth 1
Jason Day 2
Roy McIlroy 3
Dustin Johnson 8
Patrick Reed 9
Zach Johnson 14
Brandt Snedeker 15
Louis Oosthuizen 16
Brooks Koepka 18
Byeong An 27
Matt Kuchar 28
Bill Haas 30
Ryan Moore 45
Rafa Cabrera-Bello 52
Chris Kirk 54
Patton Kizzire 63

Below I have broken down the groups by round of 16 and round of 8 so you will know which groups will play each other. When listing the players below I have broken them down by who plays each other in the round of 16 so you can make sure you have no more than one player between the two groups. The first four players will be from the lower numbered group while the next four will be from the higher numbered group. The best advice is only pick one player from each group of eight and there are two groups that you will not have any players from for each team you create. I have also included current world golf ranking along with the record (W-L-T) of each player who has played this tournament over the past two years at Austin Country Club. If there is no record next to the players name this is there first time playing at this tournament under this format at Austin Country Club.

Round of 16 pairings
Group 1vs16
2vs15
3v14
4v13
5v12
6v11
7vs10
8v9

Round of 8 Pairings
Listed below are the round of 8 pairings which in my opinion will help you pair the proper high priced players appropriately in order to receive maximum point totals. It may not be in your best interest to pair Dustin Johnson with Jason Day on the same team because they would meet in the round of 8 meaning you have two high priced players were only one of them can advance to the semifinals. The same can be said of Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth because if you pair them the best you can have is one of your high priced players in the final as they would meet in the semifinals. You can also turn this around by saying if I pair Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth together I can increase my chances of having at least one player in the final in hopes that a lower priced player makes the final from the other side of the bracket and you select the correct player. I would be more open to this option but will definitely be making sure that my high priced players don’t face off in the round of 8.

1/16 winner plays 8/9 winner Think of these 8 groups as the top of the bracket
4/13 winner plays 5/12 winner

2/15 winner plays 7/10 winner Think of these 8 groups as the bottom of the bracket
3/14 winner plays 6/11 winner

THE PLAYERS
GROUPS 1&16
Dustin Johnson #1 10-2-0
Kevin Kisner #36 3-3-0
Adam Hadwin #42
Bernd Wiesberger #56 2-3-0

Matt Kuchar #20 3-2-2
Ross Fisher #31 3-2-0
Yuta Ikeda #51 0-2-1
Zach Johnson #58 5-3-0

It’s just my opinion but I don’t think Dustin Johnson could have received a more difficult draw. In his own group he must go through three players who can putt very well and play conservative golf while waiting for you to make mistakes. If DJ makes it through his own group he will have to contend with one of three more players who pose similar problems as his own group in Kuchar, Fisher and Zach Johnson. If DJ makes it through it’s because he has been very aggressive and he is playing well but based on his current form he is likely to make some mistakes. Let’s not forget what Ted Potter Jr did to DJ at Pebble Beach. I will have my fair share of DJ but will be underweight. After DJ I like Hadwin, Fisher and Zach Johnson in that order. I will have low exposure to Kuchar and Kisner as they are not in the best of form but it won’t take much to be overweight on them. I expect DJ and ZJ to be very chalky which is going to hurt many teams because they have the potential to meet in the round of 16.

GROUPS 8&9
Jason Day #11 7-3-0
Louis Oosthuizen #29 8-2-0
Jason Dufner #45 1-4-1
James Hahn #62

Tommy Fleetwood #12 1-2-1
Daniel Berger #30 1-5-0
Kevin Chappell #37 1-2-0
Ian Poulter #64

Jason Day should come away being the winner of this group although James Hahn should be considered as he has been playing very good golf recently while Louie Oosthuizen had been playing solid golf up until last week and has a solid history at Austin Country Club. I will probably be underweight on Day, flat on Oosthuizen and over on Hahn but it won’t take much to be over. In the Tommy Fleetwood grouping for me it really comes down to him and Chappell and I prefer the latter. I have no interest in Poulter and just a little in Berger. None of these players have played well at Austin Country Club.

GROUPS 4&13
Jordan Spieth #4 4-2-1
Patrick Reed #23 3-3-1
Haotong Li #38
Charl Schwartzel #53 4-2-0

Alex Noren #17 4-1
Tony Finau #33
Thomas Pieters #43 2-2-2
Kevin Na #68 4-2-1

Jordan Spieth has his work cut out this week as he is paired with two solid match play performers in Patrick Reed and Charl Schwartzel. Out of the three Reed is probably in the best form as I expect these games to be close as they are all similar players in style. I feel all the players in this grouping will be good GPP plays as there form and the likelihood that any of the three could win the group will keep there ownership down. I prefer Spieth and Reed while Haotong Li is a GPP play that will be extremely low owned. The Alex Noren grouping is perhaps the most difficult to predict as I feel it is the deepest grouping. No different than the Spieth grouping I expect all these players to suppress there own ownership due to the difficulty. What’s interesting is we have two players with the big driver game while we have two that are plodders. Personally I will take Noren and Na in this group.

GROUPS 5&12
Hideki Matsuyama #6 2-3-1
Patrick Cantlay #34
Cameron Smith #50
Yusaku Miyazato #57

Tyrell Hatton #16 2-1
Charley Hoffman #26 1-2-0
Brendan Steele #40 1-1-1
Alexander Levy #60

For me the Hideki group comes down to him and Patrick Cantlay as I feel the winner of that match will move forward. It will be interesting to see how Cantlay plays in match play as he doesn’t have much experience in the format. In addition Cantlay hasn’t been playing as well as last year which will help decrease his ownership. In the Tyrell Hatton group I prefer Charley Hoffman and Alexander Levy. Hatton flat out made it known on twitter how bad his iron game is currently while Brendan Steele is not at his best when the conditions are windy plus he hasn’t played his best golf in Texas. Hoffman is a known Texas performer and he carries a cheap price tag while Levy is a low owned GPP play for me as many people don’t know who he is plus European players have performed well in this format.

GROUPS 2&15
Justin Thomas #2 1-5
Francesco Molinari #25 0-3-0
Patton Kizzire #52 1-1-2
Luke List #67

Pat Perez #19 2-1-0
Gary Woodland #28 1-2-0
Webb Simpson #41 0-3-0
Si Woo Kim #54 1-1-1

I feel these are two of the three weakest groupings and I expect Justin Thomas to be the overwhelming highest owned player of the eight. I also feel these two groups are likely to see some of the lowest ownership as I don’t see the player who advances making it past the round of 8. I like List the best out of this group as a salary saver and a low owned play as he has been playing solid golf. Webb, Woodland and Perez are all fairly expensive for what I think you can get out of them this week.

GROUPS 7&10
Sergio Garcia #10 3-1-2
Xander Schauffele #24
Dylan Frittelli #45
Shubhankar Sharma #69

Paul Casey #13 3-3-1
Matthew Fitzpatrick #35 3-3-0
Kyle Stanley #49
Russell Henley #55

Sergio has one of the more difficult groupings and will need to use his course knowledge along with match play experience to advance. Xander has been playing very good golf and Frittelli is starting to make a name for himself plus he is a University of Texas graduate who is familiar with the conditions that Texas golf can present. I feel both Xander and Frittelli are solid GPP plays that will go underowned due to Sergio plus they bring nice salary saving options. On the other side I like Paul Casey or Kyle Stanley to move on but I feel Casey will be fairly popular. Matthew Fitzpatrick has been playing very bad golf recently but if he can get the putter going while Stanley and Casey struggle with theirs he could very well surprise everyone by advancing.

GROUPS 3&14
Jon Rahm #3 6-1-0
Kiradech Aphibarnrat #32 2-1-0
Chez Reavie #47
Keegan Bradley #70

Phil Mickelson #18 6-2-0
Rafa Bello #21 7-2-1
Sotashi Kodaira #44
Charles Howell #53 2-2-0

I am pretty sure Jon Rahm will be fairly chalky and deservingly so as he was the runner up last year and has been playing solid golf. Chez Reavie could surprise everyone in this group as he is one of those players who will not make mistakes. I have no interest in Keegan as he is not a good wind player plus he has not played well in Texas. I expect Phil Mickelson to also be fairly popular but again he must get past Rafa Bello who has been playing well and Charles Howell who has been his usual solid self. I prefer Rafa over Phil and I also feel many will play Rahm and Mickelson together hurting there chances as only one can get to the round of 8.

GROUPS 6&11
Rory McIlroy #7 5-3-2
Brian Harman ##22
Jhonattan Vegas #48 2-1-0
Peter Uihlein #63

Mark Leishman #15 2-4-1
Brendan Grace #27 3-3-0
Bubba Watson #39 3-3-2
Julian Suri #72

I don’t think Rory McIlroy could have asked for a better grouping as he should be able to advance to the round of 16 as Brian Harman is his biggest competition. McIlroy will most likely be chalky due to his recent win plus his grouping and I am fine with that as I will just be overweight. On the other side I feel Bubba Watson will be the most popular but I wouldn’t discount Leishman or Grace especially if the winds do pick up. I probably won’t have much ownership on these players due to Rory but what little I do have will come from Leishman and Grace.

MASTERS UPDATE
It appears that we are going to have the smallest Masters field in years, perhaps of all time. Currently we have 83 golfers who have qualified for the tournament and I don’t see that number being more than 87 or 88 when all is said and done. If you win the WGC this week or Houston Open the following week you will qualify. The only other way to receive qualification is to be T50 in the world golf rankings at the conclusion of the WGC this week. This means the WGC tournament is quite important for a few golfers.

Currently In The T50 And Need To Stay There
Satoshi Kodaira 44th
Dylan Frittelli 45th
Chez Reavie 47th
Cam Smith 50th
I think the first three golfers are safe to make the Masters while Cam Smith has the most to play for this weekend and he will closely be monitoring the players ranked behind him that could push him out of the T50.

Players Who Could Qualify With a Win or T2/3 Finish
Alexander Levy 60th
James Hahn 62nd
Peter Uihlen 63rd
Ian Poulter 64th
Charles Howell 65th
Luke List 67th
Kevin Na 68th
Keegan Bradley 70th
Julian Suri 72nd
Last week Bryson DeChambeau finished second and he was able to improve his world ranking by 34 positions while Ryan Moore finished 5th and saw a improvement of six positions while Luke List places 7th and only improved two positions. I don’t claim to understand exactly how the world golf rankings work but I would think that if any of these players finish in second or third they would jump into the T50. Nonetheless these players along with Cam Smith have the most riding on the WGC tournament this week.

That’s all for this week, good luck to everyone. Thanks
Coop

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