Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: PGA Tour: WGC Dell Match-Play

PGA Tour: WGC Dell Match-Play


Damien Kayat previews WGC Dell Match-Play taking place at The Austin Country Club, Austin, Texas.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2021 US PGA Tour
WGC Dell Match-Play
Austin Country Club, Austin, Texas
24th-28th March


It’s that time of the year again, where golf journalists everywhere pretend to know exactly how the minutia of this event works.  This event was first staged in 1999, with Jeff Maggert coming from nowhere to beat the even more unheralded Andre Maggee in the final.  Times have changed.  The event has been through a rollercoaster ride since then, including an unsuccessful trip across the ocean to Australia.  It spent some time bar-hopping around the States before settling in Austin in 2016.  This will be the 4th renewal since the event was skipped due to the pandemic last year.  This will serve as yet another fine aperitif to the upcoming Masters.

64 players will battle it out in 16 round-robin groups.  The winner of each group will progress to the weekend.  Players will then compete in knockout matches en route to the final.  The final four players will rack up seven rounds of golf in five days.  The event has certainly grown in popularity since the straight knockout was abandoned.  Sponsors in the early years were dismayed to see the top players dismissed on day one.  Now every player gets a chance to play at least three times (which has certainly resulted in higher quality winners).  This event is supposed to cater for the top 64 golfers in the world rankings.  But there are always a few understandable omissions this close to the Masters.

Austin Country Club is a typical Pete Dye layout.  It is extremely picturesque, situated by the shores of Lake Austin designed through cedar and oak woodland.  It has perilous bunkers and various water hazards.  The tree-lined fairways shape into small Bermuda Greens.  The success of Kevin Kisner in recent years bears testament to the fact that the more accurate guys can compete around here.  But reachable par 5’s and a drivable par 4 also indicate why the likes of Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm have enjoyed this course.  This really has something in it for everyone.  There are the perfect number of risk-reward holes for an event such as this.  This event will also test the endurance of players.  Look for players with match-play experience and some time off in recent weeks.

Bryson DeChambeau and Players Champion Justin Thomas currently lead the pre-event betting.  DeChambeau should be able to make mince-meat of some of these pars 5’s.  Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy are both previous champions of this event while Jon Rahm probably needs a big performance.  Kevin Kisner looks pretty attractive at 75/1 considering he’s made it to the final group in the last two instalments.  Elsewhere, you can’t avoid the likes of Patrick Reed and Viktor Hovland.  Hometown boy Jordan Spieth has also been in much improved form of late and may be eyeing this event ahead of Augusta.

Past Winners (at Austin Country Club)
2020: no event
2019: Kevin Kisner beat Matt Kuchar 3&2
2018: Bubba Watson beat Kevin Kisner 7&6
2017: Dustin Johnson beat Jon Rahm 1up
2016: Jason Day beat Louis Oosthuizen 5&4

Outright Betting (To Win)
Bryson DeChambeau (12/1)
Justin Thomas (12/1)
Dustin Johnson (14/1)
Jon Rahm (14/1)
Collin Morikawa (18/1)

Value Bets

Viktor Hovland- To Win (28/1), To Place (7/1)
Coming off a missed cut at the Players, Viktor Hovland will be looking to bounce back and continue his brilliant form.  Hovland finished in a tie for 2nd at last month’s WGC Workday Championship.  He is already a two-time US PGA Tour winner and he has broken 70 in 11 of his 22 rounds in 2021.  He also has an appealing group.  Abraham Ancer is a danger while Wiesberger and Streelman should be manageable.  Yes, he could face DeChambeau in the 2nd round.  But there’s no guarantee that the huge-hitting American will get through his group.

Sergio Garcia- To Win (40/1), To Place (10/1)
Sergio is Europe’s record point scorer in Ryder Cup history and he has reached the weekend here in his last two visits.  He reached the quarterfinal stage last year and will be keen to impress Padraig Harrington ahead of this year’s Ryder Cup.  Garcia was 9th last time out at the most famous Pete Dye creation: TPC Sawgrass.  He also won the Sanderson Farm Championship on Bermuda Greens.  He has also drawn a fairly favourable, all-European group (Brexit be damned).  Matt Wallace is erratic while Lee Westwood looked shattered at the Honda.  Tyrell Hatton is the obvious dangerman, but he too has been in a slight downturn since his early season form.

The Man to Beat

The Man to Beat- Jon Rahm- Win (14/1), To Place (7/2)
While Jon Rahm hasn’t picked up the big win this season, his form has been pretty consistent nonetheless.  Dating back to last year, he has six top 10’s in his last eight events.  The 2017 runner-up has also drawn the best possible group (especially looking at the depth of this field).  Shane Lowry has yet to advance out of the group stages.  Both Sebastian Munoz and Ryan Palmer are making their debuts at Austin.  I can’t imagine how he could have hoped for a better draw.  His game is perfectly suited to the demands of Austin and he could really boost his pre-Augusta chances this week.
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