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WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Key questions answered on format, field, group 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

Image: Billy Horschel returns to defend his title this week at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

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 five-day event, live from Wednesday on Sky Sports.

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.

Scottie Scheffler follows his shot on the first fairway during the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament Sunday, March 6, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Image: Scottie Scheffler is chasing a third victory of the 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 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.

Six of the eligible field have elected not to take part, with Cameron Smith withdrawing after his victory at TPC Sawgrass and Sam Burns pulling out shortly after his Valspar Championship on Sunday. Ryder Cup player Bernd Wiesberger is currently first alternate should any more withdraw.

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All the best shots from an extended final day of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
Rory McIlroy is skipping the event ahead of playing the Valero Texas Open next week and Phil Mickelson is still in his indefinite break from golf, while Hideki Matsuyama and Harris English are both injured.

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.

Also See:

World No 1 Jon Rahm has former Masters champion Patrick Reed in his group and Bryson DeChambeau marks his return to action alongside 49-year-old debutant Richard Bland, while Justin Thomas has former winner Kevin Kisner among his opponents.

Image: Jon Rahm finished runner-up to Dustin Johnson in 2017 and reached the semi-finals in last year's contest
Jordan Spieth headlines an all-major winner foursome with Adam Scott, Justin Thomas and Keegan Bradley, with English trio Matt Fitzpatrick, Tommy Fleetwood and Ian Poulter in the same group alongside Scottie Scheffler. 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.

Who has previously impressed?

Live World Golf Championships

Kisner finished runner-up to Bubba Watson in 2018 before defeating Matt Kuchar 3&2 in the final the following year, with the 2020 contest cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The tournament returned to the schedule last March, where Horschel claimed the first of his two worldwide victories in 2021 with his victory over Scottie Scheffler, while former world No 1's Jason Day, McIlroy and Dustin Johnson are all among the tournament's roll of honour.

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All the best shots from an extended final day of The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass.
Tiger Woods is the only three-time winner of the WGC Match Play, with Day and Geoff Ogilvy both lifting the trophy twice, while Poulter and Luke Donald are the two English winners of the event.

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 to the opening men's major of the year.

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Nick Dougherty, Paul McGinley and Andrew Coltart look back at the best of the action from the final round of the 85th Masters 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.

There's also the small matter of the race for world No 1, with Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Patrick Cantay and Scottie Scheffler having another chance to close the gap on Jon Rahm at the top of the standings.

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.

Live World Golf Championships

Extended coverage of the knockout stages will be shown over the weekend on Sky Sports Golf, with the action live from 1.30pm on Saturday to cover the last 16 and the quarter-finals. The final day is then live from 2.30pm 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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