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The First Look: World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play

The PGA TOUR returns to Austin Country Club with a 64-player field now set for the annual World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play.

The 16 groups and the final bracket will be announced Monday, March 20.

FIELD NOTES: Scottie Scheffler, fresh of his win at THE PLAYERS Championship, returns to defend his title from a year ago. Scheffler already defended one title this year, the WM Phoenix Open… Eight of the world’s top-nine players will tee it up with Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa, Xander Schauffele, Will Zalatoris, and Viktor Hovland all in the field… Justin Thomas and Justin Rose are the two eligible golfers who have decided to not play at Austin Country Club… Justin Suh at No. 77 in the OWGR is currently the last man in the field. Suh had a solid Florida Swing, finishing T5 at The Honda Classic, T24 at Bay Hill, and T6 at THE PLAYERS Championship… Min Woo Lee, who was in the group tied for sixth at TPC Sawgrass with Suh, is teeing it up on TOUR again. Lee, who was in the final pairing with Scheffler at TPC Sawgrass, is inching closer to earning Special Temporary Membership and is firmly in the mix to earn a TOUR card via the DP World Tour Ranking at year’s end… Kevin Kisner, who has simply been a star at Austin Country Club the last few years having notched a win and two runner-up results in the last four events, is back in action… Others with solid recent results who are teeing it up include the 2021 winner Billy Horschel and last season’s consolation-match winner Corey Conners… Notable debutants at the WGC-Dell Match Play include two-time TOUR winner Tom Kim, Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard winner Kurt Kitayama, and rising star Sahith Theegala… Jason Day, who won the first edition of this championship in Austin, has very much returned to form of late. He has missed two cuts this season, but when he finds the weekend he has not finished outside the top 21 in any of those 10 events. He’s currently on a run of T7-5-T9-T10-T19… Scheffler has been the only Texan to take the title in Austin, but there are plenty of other stars from the Lone Star State that are in form like Jordan Spieth and Will Zalatoris.

Highest-Rated Players in the Field

FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 550 FedExCup points.

COURSE: Austin Country Club, par 71, 7,108 yards (yardage subject to change). The Pete Dye design has seen an eclectic mix of champions in its tenure as host from long-bombers to short-game wizards (such is the beauty of match play). This is the seventh year Austin Country Club has hosted the WGC-Match Play and there may be a slightly different look for 2023 as a February ice storm damaged more than 1,200 trees on the property. The course, which has roots back to 1899, features two distinct nines. The front showcases some of the Texas Hill Country, while the back nine is more in the lowlands beside Lake Austin – a scenic backdrop as matches get closer to completion.

STORYLINES: The 16 four-man groups for the three-day, round-robin stage will be determined Monday… There hasn’t been a successful title defense at the WGC-Dell Match Play since Tiger Woods in 2003-04 but there have been a few close calls. Hunter Mahan won in 2012 and was runner-up in 2013, Jason Day won in 2014 and 2016, Paul Casey was runner-up two years in a row, and Kisner went runner-up (2018), win (2019), and runner-up (2022)… Points are awarded based on the following results: 1 point to the winner of a match, 0 to the loser, and 0.5 points to each player who tie a match. After group play, the format turns to single elimination. Two rounds apiece will be played Saturday and Sunday to crown a champion… Cinderella stories could be abound again at Austin Country Club. The rankings of the winners from 2018-2021 were 32-48-35, while Scheffler won at No.5 a year ago… This marks the final match-play event on the PGA TOUR schedule for the foreseeable future.

LARGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY: 9 & 8, Tiger Woods def. Stephen Ames (1st round, 2006 at La Costa Resort & Spa).

LONGEST MATCH: 26 holes, Mike Weir def. Loren Roberts (1st round, 2003 at La Costa), Scott Verplank def. Lee Westwood (1st round, 2006 at La Costa)

LAST TIME: Scottie Scheffler won for the third time in six weeks, defeating Kevin Kisner 4 and 3 in the Championship match. Scheffler’s victory at the WGC-Dell Match Play came a year after he was defeated by Billy Horschel 2 and 1 in the finale in 2021. The win, his third in five starts, bumped Scheffler to No.1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Scheffler never trailed against Kisner. He had a 3-up lead through six holes and closed out his fellow American with a par on No.15. The Texan never trailed in his semi-final win against Dustin Johnson, either, meaning Scheffler went his final 57 holes at Austin Country Club without falling behind. Kisner outlasted Corey Conners in 18 holes in his semi-final. Conners went on to win the first three holes in the consolation match, however, and ended up topping Johnson 3 and 1.

How to Follow

Television: Wednesday-Friday, 2 p.m.-8 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (Golf Channel). 12 p.m.-6 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3 p.m.-7 p.m. (NBC)

PGA TOUR Live:

PGA TOUR Live is available exclusively on ESPN+

Radio: Wednesday-Friday, 2 p.m.-8 p.m. ET. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio

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