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AUSTIN, Texas – Sixteen sweet matchups to look forward to over the first three days at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play:
Dustin Johnson vs. Robert MacIntyre. It could be an eventful start to the week for Johnson, who pulls the Scot on Day 1. Largely an unknown to American fans, MacIntyre has enjoyed a consistent career in Europe and could use a solid showing against the world No. 1 to catapult his status.
Johnson vs. Kevin Na. The world No. 1 will get tons of love from brackets everywhere to advance out of pool play and for good reason. His Day 3 bout will feature the PGA Tour’s eighth-ranked player in driving distance (Johnson) against the 178th-ranked player (Na). Enjoy the dichotomy.
Lee Westwood vs. Sergio Garcia. Group 8 will be an intriguing all-European showdown, but the Day 1 bout between the Englishman and Spaniard will be a “must watch” event.
Webb Simpson vs. Paul Casey. Both veterans are eyeing spots at this year’s Ryder Cup and have played some of their best golf at the WGC-Match Play.
Collin Morikawa vs. Max Homa. This should be a fun Day 2 matchup between two players who have won this year on Tour and have similar games that perfectly fit Austin Country Club.
Viktor Hovland vs. Kevin Streelman. This is a potentially compelling match based largely on expectations. Although Hovland is playing his first WGC-Match Play, his young resume suggests he was made for the format and his Day 1 bout could set the tone.
Bryson DeChambeau vs. Antoine Rozner. Rozner is a 28-year-old from Paris who is coming off a victory two weeks ago at the Qatar Masters. His opponent is the fifth-ranked player in the world and is threatening to reinvent the game. Variety is the best part of the WGC-Match Play.
Tony Finau vs. Will Zalatoris. For Finau, this is a perfect opportunity to prove that those building near-misses on Sunday won’t define him. For Zalatoris, it’s a chance to take another huge step forward during his meteoric rise.
Justin Thomas vs. Louis Oosthuizen. Some would call Group 2 this week’s “pod of death,” with JT, Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar and defending champion Kevin Kisner all poised to advance. JT is fresh off his victory at The Players and Oosthuizen is a match play machine. Enjoy.
Thomas vs. Kisner. Before Thomas gets the South African, however, he gets the defending champ. Kisner might appear to be overmatched against the world No. 2 but consider that in his last two starts at the Match Play he’s won (2019) and finished runner-up (2018).
Matthew Fitzpatrick vs. Jordan Spieth. Fitzpatrick has been impressively consistent this season and Spieth appears to have rediscovered his game and his confidence. It should be another close bout between like-minded players.
Patrick Reed vs. Bubba Watson. Actually, in a perfect world we’d skip ahead to the quarterfinals and a potential Reed-Spieth duel, but let’s don’t get ahead of ourselves. In the meantime, we’ll take Bubba’s ball-striking and Captain America’s match-play wizardry.
Patrick Cantlay vs. Hideki Matsuyama. Although it probably won’t be a putting clinic this match promises to have some of the week’s best ball striking.
Jon Rahm vs. Ryan Palmer. Again, this should be a one-sided match according to the world ranking but the duo won the Zurich Classic as a team and they enjoy the type of chemistry that makes match play such an unpredictable format.
Xander Schauffele vs. Jason Day. The Australian continues to search for whatever has been missing from his game the last few years and Schauffele could be the kind of test that brings out his best. It could also end very poorly for Day.
Rory McIlroy vs. Cameron Smith. The Northern Irishman is the higher-seeded player but Smith has the momentum on his side following his fourth-place finish last month in Los Angeles. There’s also no indication that McIlroy has found a quick answer to his ball-striking woes.