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Everything you need to know about the WGC-Cadillac Match Play

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In lieu of its usual February date, the WGC-Cadillac Match Play will commence this Wednesday with the final to take place four days later. The calendar shakeup is accompanied by a format shift from a pure single-elimination event to a round-robin single-elimination hybrid. They’ve even swapped the course, with San Francisco’s famous Harding Park hosting the tournament this year.

Unfortunately, the match play format means there is no DraftKings contest this week. But The PLAYERS Championship will be the next event upon us and DraftKings will be back with their $100,000 prize pool ($10,000 for first place) at a $3 entry fee contest, or FREE with first deposit, for the year’s fifth major. The top 7,850 finishers will earn cash and our “beat the writer” contest will continue.

Click here to ENTER.

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If you’re looking for a bigger investment with a more sizable potential payoff, DraftKings will also feature special contests for The PLAYERS. For a $20 entry fee you can enter a $150,000 pot ($20,000 for first place) and for a $100 entry fee you can be part of a $300,000 pool ($50,000 grand prize). Enticing options!

Now, back to this week’s WGC-Cadillac Match Play event. What do you need to know? All of the key information is below.

The New Format

As I alluded to above, there is a combination round-robin, single-elimination format this week.

HardingPark

Harding Park will play host to the 2015 Match Play event.

The round-robin portion is over the first three days, with the 64 competitors separated into 16 groups of four. The top seed in Group 1 is the No. 1 seed in the field; the best in Group 2 is the No. 2 seed, and so on through Group 16. The other three members of the groups were determined Monday in a selection show. One player each from the Nos. 17-32, Nos. 33-48 and No. 49-64 sections were randomly selected and placed into the groups.

The quartet within each pool will face one another in three matches from Wednesday-Friday, and whoever has the best record among the set wins their group (if two are tied at the end, the tiebreaker is the head-to-head result, and a three-way tie will result in a playoff).

Each group victor will move on to the Round of 16, where the tournament reverts to single elimination. The Round of 16 match ups are based on the group number where a player triumphed. The Group 1 winner will face the Group 16 winner, Group 2 vs. Group 15, etc.

The Round of 16 and quarterfinals will take place on Saturday and the semifinals and finals will commence on Sunday.

Sizing up the 16 Groups

So we know the makeup of each group following Monday’s selection show. Which pools pique our interest the most?

BillyHorschelGators

I’m privy to Group 1, as Rory McIlroy and his exploits are always fascinating, and I’m curious about what Billy Horschel may offer. The former Gator really hasn’t been in form at all this year, but he strikes me as a player who really has the temperament for match play. McIlroy’s record at this event is shaky, so it should be interesting to monitor whether Horschel can surprise.

There’s also Group 4, where we’ll be treated to a show with three bombers and mega-talents in Bubba Watson, Louis Oozthuizen and Keegan Bradley duking it out. But wait, there’s also Miguel Angel Jimenez! With him there’s also the storyline of whether he this old short-knocker can somehow outdo these fierce long-hitters. Don’t put anything past MAJ!

IanPoulterMatchPlay

Group 11, with Jimmy Walker, Ian Poulter, Webb Simpson and Gary Woodland is getting some hype as the “Group of Death.” I’m not sure I agree. Poulter is a former winner here and is of Ryder Cup fame, but he’s been ousted in the first round of this event three of the last five years, and Simpson doesn’t come in with much form. This is still a pretty interesting group, though.

Finally, watch out for whoever wins Group 14. Matt Kuchar and Hunter Mahan both have incredible records at this event, and Ben Martin is a pretty interesting wild card. The Clemson product isn’t very consistent, but he tends to really capitalize when his game is on.

Possible Cool Round of 16 Matchups

SpiethReed

We have to start off with Spieth vs. Reed, right? Spieth has a pretty easy group, and while Reed has Ryan Moore to get through (no easy task), he’s got a solid chance to move on. Imagine the hype if these two young American titans got to square off.

McIlroy could be in line to play Hideki Matsuyama, which would also be an intriguing contest between two young super talents.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 1.42.59 PM

I’m curious to watch best friends Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler face off if they take care of business in Groups 4 and 13. We also have the potential of a Bill Haas-Hunter Mahan pairing, which may not sound to glamorous but remember what happened last time when these two battled.

I also want to see Jim Furyk versus Brooks Koepka. Their styles are just so different and there’s the generational aspect as well with Furyk an aging vestige of the Tiger era and Koepka very much among this recent crop of young super talent.

Whatever the case, we should see some fireworks this week. And at the very least, you won’t see McIlroy or Spieth packing after one day.

Don’t forget to enter for The Players Championship DraftKings contest.

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Kevin's fascination with the game goes back as long as he can remember. He has written about the sport on the junior, college and professional levels and hopes to cover its proceedings in some capacity for as long as possible. His main area of expertise is the PGA Tour, which is his primary focus for GolfWRX. Kevin is currently a student at Northwestern University, but he will be out into the workforce soon enough. You can find his golf tidbits and other sports-related babble on Twitter @KevinCasey19. GolfWRX Writer of the Month: September 2014

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. UA Golfer

    Apr 29, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Spieth looked great out there today.

  2. Golfer Steve

    Apr 29, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    It is a nice change to see this format

  3. Dave S

    Apr 29, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    This new format is great! Unfortunately, for those of us with day jobs, we won’t get to see a lot of the new round robin group play (36 holes a day from Weds thru Fri). I’ll catch highlights on Golf Channel and maybe a some of the replays, but for the most part, this will just be the same single-elimination tournament as always come Sat and Sun when I can actually sit down and watch. The good thing though, is that with the group play format, more of the top players in the world are likely to be around on the weekend, making the elimination rounds more intriguing.

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