The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was cancelled last year due to the pandemic and the initial stoppage of the PGA Tour. This year’s event returns to Austin Country Club in Texas for the fifth time, and 64 of the top 69 ranked players will compete in the only Match Play format event on the PGA Tour – starting Wednesday, March 24.
WGC Match Play odds 2021
The field consists of the top 64 players representing 17 countries from the Official World Golf Rankings at the conclusion of the Honda Classic.
Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas were the Monday morning favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, both holding +1200 odds to win outright. At FanDuel Sportsbook, Thomas was +1100 and DeChambeau was +1200 Monday morning.
Here is a look at the current odds from the top books in the US. Click on the price(s) you like to wager now.
Notable players in the field
The top 11 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are set to play. That includes the world No. 1 and reigning Masters champion Dustin Johnson. Recent PLAYERS Championship winner and No. 2 ranked Justin Thomas shoots for his first WGC Match Play win. Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa and Bryson DeChambeau round out the current top 5 in the world rankings.
Louis Oosthuizen and Matt Kuchar have advanced through the group stage to the knockout stage three times since the event moved to Austin CC in 2016. Players in the field that have advanced twice include: Paul Casey, Tyrrell Hatton, Dustin Johnson, Kevin Kisner, Marc Leishman, Kevin Na, Rory McIlroy, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed and Bubba Watson.
Recent WGC Match Play winners and runner-ups:.
- 2019 – Kevin Kisner 3 & 2 over Matt Kuchar
- 2018 – Bubba Watson 7 & 6 over Kevin Kisner
- 2017 – Dustin Johnson 1 up over Jon Rahm
- 2016 – Jason Day 5 & 4 over Louis Oosthuizen
Golfers to watch
Since the WGC Match Play switched to group stages and a round robin format in 2016, the top-2 overall seeds have a 35-10-1 match record, and have gone on to win three titles. This year’s top players with best odds include:
- Dustin Johnson (+1400)
- Justin Thomas (+1400)
- Jon Rahm (+1400)
- Collin Morikawa (+2000)
- Bryson DeChambeau (+1400)
- Xander Schauffele (+2800)
- Patrick Reed (+2800)
- Tyrrell Hatton (+3500)
In addition, only 36% of the top-seeded players (16 top seeds) have advanced out of their respective groups into the round of 16. The player seeded second in the groups has advanced 25% of the time, third seed 22% and fourth seed 15%. On seven occasions, a player seeded 50th or worse has advanced to the quarterfinals if not beyond.
Rory McIlroy has dropped to No. 11 in the world, but he’s the top player in Group 11 with odds to advance of +138 and +2000 to win the event. He looks solid, but there is no such thing as an easy draw in this event. Jon Rahm looks most likely to win Group 3 and play in the Round of 16 Saturday morning, and again in the quarterfinals Saturday afternoon. Texas native and Longhorns grad Jordan Spieth is a popular pick and down to +2600 to win and co-favorite of +200 to win Group 15 and set up a potential Round 16 match against his buddy, Justin Thomas.
So the odds are not as favorable for the top 8-10 players to win the Match Play event given the most competitive field and nature of perceived upsets. However, there are also Group Winner odds and Match-ups available at DraftKings and FanDuel Sportsbooks.
Picking the winner here is tougher than the NCAA Tournament. But here are four other players outside of the leading favorites to consider for your Fairway Foursome to win or advance through the group stage.
Paul Casey (+2600 DraftKings): The bookmaker is on top of Paul Casey, who’s odds to win are lower and is also +163 to advance out of Group 9 over Webb Simpson, Talor Gooch and Mackenzie Hughes. But Casey is the best player in this format, and has advanced out of the group stage in two of the four events at Austin CC. He’s also posted a career record of 27-15-2 in all WGC Match Play events. Casey is a par 4 efficiency leader on the shorter holes and a solid baller as noted with proven performances on Pete Dye designs. Webb Simpson is consistent with solid all around strengths, but he has one of the worst career Match Play records of any top-seed in the field.
Tyrrell Hatton (+3500 DraftKings): Hatton has the longest odds of the top-11 players in the world rankings. In Group 8 featuring three proven European Ryder Cup players, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Sergio Garcia advance over Hatton, Lee Westwood and Matt Wallace. But Hatton at +175 gets the nod with the group winner facing the Paul Casey group winner next round. Hatton has become an elite level player with his laser-straight Ball Striking and solid Tee-to-Green and Approach play. His short game is generally solid which has made him a complete player who is now capable of contending anywhere if his Around the Green game is working. Match Play format and course is a fit, but he does have some proven match play golfers to get through early.
Si Woo Kim (+8000 DraftKings): Kim is overlooked, as he has to get out of the Bryson bracket in Group 5 that includes DeChambeau, Tommy Fleetwood and Antoine Rozner. Kim is +300 to do so, and the 2017 PLAYERS Championship winner on the Dye Sawgrass course has the ball striking and iron play to succeed. Kim has bags of ability at age 25, and he won the American Express event this year, and followed up with a 9th place finish in the PLAYERS last time out. A previous playoff loss at Harbour Town also proves his affinity for Dye designs.
Victor Perez (+15000 DraftKings): Let’s include a bomb, and take a much better price at DraftKings over FanDuel (+10000). Perez is in wide open Group 16 against Sungjae Im, Russell Henley and Marc Leishman. Perez is the longshot and +350 to advance, but his improved game should not be overlooked. He competed against Rahm and DeChambeau as an amateur, and has moved up to become a solid pro mostly in the European Tour where he has some top-10 finishes this season. The tall Frenchman was a surprise winner of the 2019 Dunhill Links when he defeated some of the top players in this event.
WGC Match Play format
The Match Play format does increase golf’s inherent unpredictability, but the new round robin format and addition of group stages that started here in 2016 has produced more top-tier players advancing and winning.
The first phase of the tournament involves players being split into 16 groups of four players. Each group is decided by a round robin format played over Wednesday to Friday, with the 16 group winners advancing to the knock out phase. The group winner is decided by awarding 1 point for a win, and a half point for a halved match. If two or more players are tied on points at the conclusion of the group phase, a sudden death stroke play playoff is played between tied players.
The group winners play the Round of 16 on Saturday morning, and the quarterfinal on Saturday afternoon. The semifinals are played on Sunday morning, and the final and third place playoff are played on Sunday afternoon. In total, the winner will play seven rounds of golf.
Course and Tournament Information
- Course: Austin Country Club
- Location: Austin, TX
- Date: March 24-28
- Par: 71 / Yardage 7,182
- Purse: $10.5 Million / Winner $1.87 M
- Fairways/Rough: Bermudagrass
- Greens: : Bermudagrass
- TV/Online: Golf Channel, NBC (Sat/Sun), PGA Tour Live
- Twitter & Hashtag: @DellMatchPlay
- Defending Champion: Kevin Kisner (2019)
Austin Country Club sits on Lake Austin, and was designed by Pete Dye in 1984. It’s the home of legendary instructor Harvey Penick. The course went through a fairways and greens renovation in 2015 and more than 100 bunkers were redone in 2019. The greens are smaller than tour average, and there are five water hazards. Many risk/reward holes makes for great match play strategy.
The course features diverse terrain and elevation changes, and the opening nine holes play on higher ground and weave through canyons and woodlands. The back nine is on the lowlands alongside Lake Austin with a river border on one side of the course. There are several different natural features to every one of the holes, and players will also have to navigate the changing winds with early forecasts showing up to 16 MPH wind speeds on Thursday.
All of the par 5s will be reachable, and the 12th hole will be the favorite. Water from the river runs the final 150 yards on the left of the hole, and goes right up along the left of the green and beyond the putting surface. There is plenty of drama as players decide to go for the green.
There are five par 4s less than 400 yards, and all the par 3s – including the shortest at 145 yards – have greens tucked away in front of water, bunkers and ravines. The par 4s at Nos. 2 and 8 are the toughest holes with a 25% bogey rate. The risk/reward options, hazards and strategy all adds to great match play scenarios.
While there is no Shot Link data available, and match play is a different format, a model to consider in your strokes gained research might include:
- SG: Off-the-Tee – up to 30% of model
- SG: Approach – up to 20%
- SG: Around the Green
- Birdies or Better and Opportunities Gained
- Proximity to Hole – 100-125 yards
The par 4 efficiency leaders from 350-400 yards over their last 50 rounds include: Patrick Cantlay, Paul Casey, Kevin Kisner, Jon Rahm, Shane Lowry and Dustin Johnson.
In comparing player performances on Pete Dye designs, and using the Pete Dye course filter at Fantasy National, these golfers from the WGC Match Play field have performed the best in SG: Ball Striking over their last 12 rounds: Si Woo Kim, Justin Thomas, Corey Connors, Abraham Ancer, Paul Casey, Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia
A hot putter and wedge play on the shorter holes will ultimately determine whether many players win their matches and advance.