WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Ultimate guide to 2023 tournament, with key questions answered on format, field, draw and scoring

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Ultimate guide to 2023 tournament, with key questions answered on format, field, draw and scoring

Five-day tournament at Austin Country Club sees the 64-man field split into 16 groups of four, ahead of four rounds of knockout match play; Coverage of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is live on Sky Sports Golf from 2.30pm on Wednesday

Last Updated: 22/03/23 9:39pm


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Sky Sports Golf’s Nick Dougherty explains the rules around the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play as Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler and more take part

Sky Sports Golf’s Nick Dougherty explains the rules around the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play as Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler and more take part

What is the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and how does it work? We answer your key questions about the field, format and more ahead of the 2023 tournament, which gets underway from Wednesday live on Sky Sports.

The event has been the only constant of the World Golf Championship since their inception in 1999, although this year’s contest is the last after tournament organiser confirmed that it will not be part of the 2024 schedule.

Austin Country Club in Texas hosts its seventh and final edition of the five-day event, where world No 1 Scottie Scheffler returns as defending champion and looks to join Tiger Woods as the only player to win successive editions of the WGC Match Play.

Can Scheffler become a back-to-back winner of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play?

Can Scheffler become a back-to-back winner of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play?

How do players qualify?

Only the top 64 in the world rankings – after the conclusion of The Players earlier this month – were automatically eligible to tee up at Austin Country Club, with players immediately below them in the standings then replacing any withdrawals.

A look through the best moments from the WGC Match Play over the years

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A look through the best moments from the WGC Match Play over the years

A look through the best moments from the WGC Match Play over the years

Justin Thomas (10th in the world rankings) and Justin Rose (32nd) were eligible to participate but have chosen to withdraw from the event, while a further 11 players have been ruled out due to suspensions from the PGA Tour after joining LIV Golf.

Should any further players withdraw ahead of the tournament, American Brendon Todd (78th) is listed as first alternate waiting in reserve.

  • Cameron Smith (5th in world rankings)
  • Joaquín Niemann (26th)
  • Abraham Ancer (30th)
  • Thomas Pieters (42nd)
  • Talor Gooch (49th)
  • Mito Pereira (50th)
  • Harold Varner III (51st)
  • Dustin Johnson (62nd)
  • Patrick Reed (65th)
  • Dean Burmester (71st)
  • Jason Kokrak (74th)

Why is the event a Wednesday start?

The first three days are dedicated to round-robin match play, with the 64-player field split into 16 groups of four and only the winner of each group then progressing to the knockout stages.

If there’s a tie at the top of the group, then a sudden-death play-off between those involved will determine who progresses through to the weekend.

Rory McIlroy returns after electing to skip the event last year

Rory McIlroy returns after electing to skip the event last year

The last-16 and the quarter-finals take place on Saturday, with the semi-finals scheduled for early on Sunday ahead of the final later that day. That means the winner will have played seven rounds over the five days to lift the trophy.

How does the draw work?

The highest-ranked 16 players were each top seed in their respective groups, with players ranked 17-32, 33-48 and 49-64 then drawn at random to complete each of the spots in the four-player groups.

World No 1 Scheffler, the defending champion, is in a group consisting of compatriot Davis Riley, Swede Alex Norén and South Korea’s Tom Kim.

Jon Rahm, ranked second in the world, has a tricky task on his hands in a group that contains 2021 winner Billy Horschel as well as Rickie Fowler and Keith Mitchell.

Jon Rahm is unable to replace Scheffler as world No 1 but can close the gap at the top of the world rankings

Jon Rahm is unable to replace Scheffler as world No 1 but can close the gap at the top of the world rankings

Rory McIlroy, who won in 2015 but missed last year’s tournament, is back in a group with Americans Keegan Bradley, Denny McCarthy and Scott Stallings.

Two-time champion Jason Day has been placed in a group with world number nine Colin Morikawa, while 2019 winner Kevin Kisner has Hideki Matsuyama for company in the round robin stage. The full draw is available HERE.

What is the match format?

Match play golf is what you see during events like the Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup, where the match score is based on the number of holes won rather than a player’s round score.

A player wins the hole if he scores lower than his opponent, with the match winner confirmed once someone is leading by more holes than left to play. A tied match will score a half-point in the group stage, with extra holes required should a match finish all-square in the knockout stages.

What else is at stake this week?

This week’s tournament is the last event for players to qualify for The Masters without winning a PGA Tour event, with the top 50 in the Official Golf World Ranking following the event securing an invite.

Australia’s Lucas Herbert needs to reach the knockout stages to have any chance of breaking into the world’s top 50, while Rickie Fowler – a former runner-up at Augusta National – requires a quarter-final finish or better to earn an invite to the opening major of the year.

Rickie Fowler last featured at The Masters in 2020

Rickie Fowler last featured at The Masters in 2020

Min Woo Lee, Adam Hadwin, Victor Perez, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Matt Kuchar are among the other players in action yet to secure their places at Augusta National.

For those not already qualified and still outside that mark when the rankings are released next Monday, the only way to book a last-minute spot in the Augusta National field will be by winning the Valero Texas Open.

How can I watch the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play?

Sky Sports will be showing live coverage from all five days of the marathon contest, with early action live from 2.30pm on Wednesday to Friday ahead of main coverage getting underway at 6pm.

Extended coverage of the knockout stages will be shown over the weekend on Sky Sports Golf, with the action live from 12.30pm on Saturday to cover the last 16 and the quarter-finals. The final day is then live from 3pm on Sunday.

For those unable to watch the action live this week, one-hour highlights will be available each morning on Sky Sports Golf, with reports and clips on the Sky Sports website after each day’s play.

Watch the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play throughout the week live on Sky Sports Golf!

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