It’s Friday, the equivalent of Cut Day, at the 2016 WGC-Dell Match Play. It’s the last of three days of round-robin pool play for the 64-player field, ending with the 16 winners of the 16 groups moving into a bracket-style tournament over the weekend.
However, deciding the winner in each group won’t necessarily be as clean cut as playing out the six matches in each group. If there’s a tie in the group after the matches are played, then there will be a stroke-play playoff to determine the group winner.
Having a playoff to decide ties among groups is a change from last year’s first edition of the round-robin pool format. In 2015, the group winner was decided by head-to-head record among the players tied. Group-play matches in 2015 also couldn’t end in a tie like they can this year, making it easier to determine a group winner on Friday but also rendering a lot of matches irrelevant, which was bad for players and fans alike.
Jordan Spieth, who has won his first two matches, isn’t a fan of the change as a competitor, but he understands why it’s better for fans.
“I like it if you beat somebody you go through,” Spieth said. “I like the head-to-head. But I understand that last year there were three or four scenarios where guys were already through without playing their last match, and it’s not necessarily as exciting. But I still think if you beat somebody heads up, you should have the advantage to go through over them.”