WGC Dell Match Play: Group Draws

Published:

The WGC Dell Match Play groups have been set for the round-robin matches, where 16 group winners will advance on to the weekend's sudden-death single elimination.

The WGC Dell Match Play groups are already providing storylines a plenty before the matches have even begun, as Austin Country Club hosts the tournament for the third year running. Ryder Cup teammates Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed have been drawn together in one group, while Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen face off in another for a repeat of the 2016 final (Day won 5&4 on that occasion). 

Day is hoping to become the second player, after Tiger, to win the WGC Match Play on three separate occasions, while defending champion Dustin Johnson is looking for his second win of 2018 - but he'll have to overcome a tough group of Kevin Kisner, Adam Hadwin and Bernd Wiesberger. Last year, DJ became the first player in history to win all four WGC titles. 

Meanwhile, last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational winner Rory McIlroy has a former U.S. Amateur winner (Peter Uihlein) and U.S. Junior Amateur winner (Brian Harman) in his group, along with another University of Texas grad in Jhonattan Vegas.

The three-day round robin group stages begin on Wednesday and ends on Friday, before the 16 group winners advance on to the sudden-death matches at the weekend. 

Players in the 64-man field were seeded according to their position on the Official World Ranking as of Monday. Players were then placed into four pools of 16 players (Pool A: 1-16; Pool B: 17-32; Pool C: 33-48; Pool D: 49-64). The top 16 ranked players headed the 16 groups, with Monday's random draw determing the other three spots.

"To win the whole thing, you've got beat some great players," said Pat Perez, the top-seeded player in Group 15. "You just have to, because everybody in this field is a great player.

"To actually have a chance to beat some great players is pretty cool, especially the fact they're friends and this and that. But it's such a cool idea, just the whole tournament, it's awesome."

patrick reed jordan spieth

The Group Draws

The first name in each group was determined by their world ranking, and the other three were drawn randomly. Player seeds are in parentheses.

GROUP 1: Dustin Johnson (1), Kevin Kisner (32), Adam Hadwin (38), Bernd Wiesberger (52) ...
The defending champ defeated Jon Rahm 1up last year, and already has a victory under his belt in 2018. Wiesberger won two matches last year but failed to get out of group stage, and Hadwin hasn't played before. 

GROUP 2: Justin Thomas (2), Francesco Molinari (21), Patton Kizzire (48), Luke List (60) ...
For Thomas and List, it's a replay of their playoff at The Honda Classic, won by Thomas. Kizzire, like Thomas, has already won twice on the PGA TOUR this year. Molinari is an experiened Ryder Cup player, but has struggled in this event.

GROUP 3: Jon Rahm (3), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (28), Chez Reavie (43), Keegan Bradley (63) ...
"Certainly not an easy group," said Rahm, last year's finalist. Reavie is playing well having recorded two runner-up finishes on TOUR this year, and Aphibarnrat recently won the World Super 6 Perth event.

GROUP 4: Jordan Spieth (4), Patrick Reed (19), Haotong Li (34), Charl Schwartzel (49) ...
Reed, Spieth and Schwartzel all failed to make it out of the group stages last year, but with plenty of Ryder Cup/ Presidents Cup appearances between them, this is poised to be a tough group. Meanwhile, Li is making his first appearance in the contest.

GROUP 5: Hideki Matsuyama (4), Patrick Cantlay (30), Cameron Smith (46), Yusaku Miyazato (53) ...
Matsuyama -- the highest-ranked player from Japan -- has just returned from a wrist injury and will be playing with fellow countryman in Miyazato. Cantlay and Smith are capable of big performances at any time. Will be a fun group to follow.

GROUP 6: Rory McIlroy (6), Brian Harman (18), Jhonattan Vegas (44), Peter Uihlein (57) ...
Fresh off his win at last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, 2015 winner McIlroy looks in a good place to do well here this week. But Harman is fiesty and Vegas will have his fans as a former Texas player. Uilhein is making his Dell Match Play debut.

GROUP 7: Sergio Garcia (7), Xander Schauffele (20), Dylan Frittelli (41), Shubhankar Sharma (62) ...
The veteran Garcia, who now resides here with his wife and newborn child, will be tested by three young players -- Schauffele, last year's PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year; Frittelli, who won a NCAA title with the University of Texas; and Sharma, who played so well at the previous WGC event.

GROUP 8: Jason Day (8), Louis Oosthuizen (25), Jason Dufner (42), James Hahn (56) ...
This group is highlighted by the rematch of the 2016 final between Day vs. Oosthuizen when the event was held in Austin for the first time. Day won that match 5 and 4.

GROUP 9: Tommy Fleetwood (9), Daniel Berger (26), Kevin Chappell (33), Ian Poulter (58) ...
Fleetwood failed to get out of group play last year and his road this year will be challenged by American President Cuppers Berger and Chappell along with match play demon Poulter. "It's a good one, isn't it?" Fleetwood said of his group.

GROUP 10: Paul Casey (10), Matthew Fitzpatrick (31), Kyle Stanley (45), Russell Henley (51) ...
Casey is a two-time runner-up in this event and playing great golf right now. Stanley is making his first appearance in this event since 2012 and Henley has an impressive match play record during his NCAA career. Fitzpatrick defeated Justin Thomas here last year.

GROUP 11: Marc Leishman (11), Branden Grace (23), Bubba Watson (35), Julian Suri (64) ...
Leishman and Grace are International Presidents Cuppers, while Watson has represented the U.S. multiple times. Suri is the last player in the field after Joost Luiten pulled out.

GROUP 12: Tyrrell Hatton (12), Charley Hoffman (22), Brendan Steele (36), Alexander Levy (55) ...
Hatton and Levy have battled plenty of times on the European Tour, while Hoffman and Steele have done the same on the PGA TOUR. Hatton was T-3 in his last WGC start in Mexico.

GROUP 13: Alex Noren (13), Tony Finau (29), Thomas Pieters (39), Kevin Na (61) ...
Both Noren and Na won their groups last year, and are up against a couple of big hitters in their group with Finau and Pieters, and although he was 1-1-1, Pieters is a self-confessed lover of matchplay. 

GROUP 14: Phil Mickelson (14), Rafa Cabrera Bello (17), Satoshi Kodaira (40), Charles Howell III (59) ...
Mickelson had a good run last year before losing in the quarterfinals, while Charles Howell III defeated Cabrera Bello (the highest ranked player in pool B) in a group stage play-off after both men won 2 matches and lost 1. He then lost his match in the round of 16. Kodaira is the second-highest ranked player from Japan. 

GROUP 15: Pat Perez (15), Gary Woodland (24), Webb Simpson (37), Si Woo Kim (50) ...
Perez failed to get out of group stage last year and has friends Woodland (2015 finalist) and Simpson in his group, along with the reigning THE PLAYERS champion.

GROUP 16: Matt Kuchar (16), Ross Fisher (27), Yuta Ikeda (47) Zach Johnson (54) ...
The Kuchar-Johnson matchup will be a good match of the two longtime TOUR vets, but they'll have to overcome Fisher, who showed his skills at matchplay last year by topping his pool group and making it to the quarter-finals. Ikeda has yet to win a match in this event.