The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play features a field of 64 elite players battling from Wednesday through Sunday to determine a champion in this unique format on the PGA Tour.
In recent years, however, the WGC match play format has changed. It used to be a simple, single-elimination bracket of 64 players, with losing players eliminated from the tournament until a champion was crowned. Now, we have a pool-play style featuring 16 pools of four players battling it out in round-robin play before getting down to a final 16, who then take it down to a champion in a single-elimination, bracket-style format.
So, on the Monday of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play week, the pools are picked at random so as to give some added excitement in finding out the matchups for the first three days of the tournament. Let's take a look at how the pools are determined.
How the pool play groups are determined for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
We begin with the top 16 players in the field based on their Official World Golf Ranking entering the week. Those top 16 players become seed Nos. 1-16, anchoring each of the 16 groups. In a total chalk world, each of those anchor seeds would win their group. However, whoever wins the No. 1 seed's group (Group 1) will take on the winner of the No. 16 seed's group (Group 16). The Group 2 winner takes on the Group 15 winner on the opposite end of the bracket, and so forth.
The remaining 48 players in the field are divided into subsequent groups of 16 players. Players ranked 17th highest in the OWGR through the 32nd highest-ranked player go into a B group of players. Player Nos. 33-48 are in the C group, then players ranked 49th through 64th go in the D group.
At random draw, the members of a group are selected at once, with a ping-pong ball drawn lottery-style from the B, C and D groups. Those players are then put into the pool with the top-seeded player in that group, and they'll all play each other once in the round-robin round. The player with the best record and most points at the end of those round-robin matches wins the group.
This selection process continues group by group in a process of elimination until the final group drawn is comprised of the players not yet picked in the ping-pong ball drawing.