This week's WGC-Dell Match Play is one of the toughest weeks of the year to play in fantasy golf or bet. It's tougher to predict in a bracket pool than the NCAA men's basketball tournament. That's in a normal year.
For 2016, we add in a new venue, Austin Country Club, and we have the second year of the random-draw, round-robin format. In other words, no one can tell you with any kind of certainty what's going to happen this week.
However, in making our 2016 WGC-Dell Match Play predictions and fantasy golf picks -- which you should take with a grain of salt -- we think the emphasis on ballstriking, not length, is a key to scoring well on this course. Our picks will take you through the group stage.
2016 WGC-Dell Match Play fantasy golf picks and predictions
Group 1 -- Jordan Spieth (1), Justin Thomas (31), Victor Dubuisson (39), Jamie Donaldson (51)
We like Jordan Spieth to come out of this group, if for no other reason than he's seen this club more than anyone in it. He went to UT-Austin.
Group 2 -- Jason Day (2), Paul Casey (23), Thongchcai Jaidee (36), Graeme McDowell (62)
Paul Casey and Jason Day, two guys who like to be match-play annoyances, should do well here. I like Day to get through, though.
Group 3 -- Rory McIlroy (3), Kevin Na (26), Smylie Kaufman (46), Thorbjorn Olesen (64)
McIlroy has been so up-and-down that it's hard to pick him. Smylie Kaufman has been sneaky consistent. Kaufman.
Group 4 -- Bubba Watson (4), J.B. Holmes (21), Emiliano Grillo (33), Patton Kizzire (63)
Call me zany, but I like J.B. Holmes to come out of this group. He's playing really well, has the length to keep up with Bubba and get fiery in a good way in match play.
Group 5 -- Rickie Fowler (5), Byeong-Hun An (27), Scott Piercy (47), Jason Dufner (58)
Fowler loves head-to-head situations in stroke play, so he should thrive in match play. Still playing excellent golf.
Group 6 -- Adam Scott (6), Bill Haas (30), Chris Wood (41), Thomas Pieters (55)
Adam Scott has never been much in the Presidents Cup. I think this one is ripe for an upset. I like Thomas Pieters.
Group 7 -- Justin Rose (7), Matt Kuchar (28), Anirban Lahiri (48), Fabian Gomez (57)
Matt Kuchar has been rounding into form. Rose is playing pretty well. Lahiri had a chance at the Indian Open. Gomez won in Hawaii. Let's go with Kuchar.
Group 8 -- Dustin Johnson (8), Jimmy Walker (22), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (37), Robert Streb (49)
Jimmy Walker wants to go deep in this. He hosted Rickie Fowler early for some practice at ACC. I like him to get through.
Group 9 -- Patrick Reed (9), Phil Mickelson (17), Matthew Fitzpatrick (42), Daniel Berger (53)
Who isn't salivating at the Reed-Mickelson match? Mickelson is rusty in this event, though, one he has typically avoided because of course, date or both. Let's go with Reed.
Group 10 -- Danny Willett (10), Brooks Koepka (18), Billy Horschel (40), Jaco Van Zyl (50)
Danny Willett is the class player of this group, but he should get a good challenge from every player. Nonetheless, he's the man to beat here.
Group 11 -- Branden Grace (11), Russell Knox (32), David Lingmerth (38), Chris Kirk (54)
I really like Russell Knox here. Grace is playing great and riding hot, however. Lingmerth seems uninspired and Kirk was flatlining through the season until a T-12 at the Palmer.
Group 12 -- Hideki Matsuyama (12), Kevin Kisner (20), Soren Kjeldsen (43), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (52)
This seems like a good moment for Kevin Kisner. Matsuyama is a class ballstriker, so he should like ACC, but his putting is such a huge liability for match play.
Group 13 -- Sergio Garcia (13), Marc Leishman (25), Ryan Moore (45), Lee Westwood (59)
We always seem to fall in love with Sergio Garcia in this event. Not this year. Marc Leishman.
Group 14 -- Zach Johnson (14), Shane Lowry (24), Martin Kaymer (44), Marcus Fraser (60)
This group seemingly comes down to Lowry, who has killed some Goliaths in this event, and Zach Johnson. Let's go with the Irishman.
Group 15 -- Brandt Snedeker (15), Charl Schwartzel (19), Danny Lee (34), Charley Hoffman (56)
I really like Sneds out of this group. Schwartzel has been playing great golf overall, and it wouldn't be shocking for him to win the group.
Group 16 -- Louis Oosthuizen (16), Andy Sullivan (29), Bernd Wiesberger (35), Matt Jones (61)
Andy Sullivan is my guy here. He's a clutch player with a flare for the dramatic. Should suit well in match play.
SUPPORT GNN IN OUR MISSION TO CHANGE GOLF MEDIA
For just $10 annually, you'll get:
- An ad-free experience
- Exclusive fantasy golf and betting research
- Special discounts and member benefits
- Entry into member-only giveaways
- A USGA handicap for just $20 per year