2017 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play expert group picks, predictions
PGA Tour

2017 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play expert group picks, predictions

The WGC Dell Technologies Match Play logo

The 2017 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play starts on Wednesday with the beginning of round-robin group play.

There are 16 groups of four players, each anchored by one of the top-ranked 16 players in the field, with the other three players in each group drawn from respective pools of 16 players. Each player will get three matches, with the player in each group carrying the best record (or winning a tiebreak) moving on to the bracket-style portion of the event, where the Group 1 winner plays the Group 16 winner, Group 2 vs. Group 15 and so forth.

Let's make some expert picks for group play and then see where the magic takes in predicting a winner.

2017 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play expert group picks, predictions

Group 1: Dustin Johnson (1), Jimmy Walker (18), Martin Kaymer (41), Webb Simpson (58): DJ has four major champions in the group, and Martin Kaymer could be a good foil, but Dustin Johnson is the man here.

Group 2: Rory McIlroy (2), Emiliano Grillo, Gary Woodland, Soren Kjeldsen (62): McIlroy is always prone to a bad stretch that can doom him. However, the same is true for all of his opponents, so Rory McIlroy is the default pick.

Group 3: Jason Day, Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood, Pat Perez: It's hard to trust Day. That would boil me down to Leishman and Perez, and I like Perez because of his tremendous short game.

Group 4: Hideki Matsuyama (4), Louis Oosthuizen (23), Ross Fisher (47), Jim Furyk (51): If Louis Oosthuizen plays healthy golf, he could win the group. However, Hideki Matsuyama is too good right now.

Group 5: Jordan Spieth (5), Ryan Moore (32), Yuta Ikeda (37), Hideto Tanihara (54): Jordan Spieth is the pick here, and he seems pretty much unchallenged in the group. Moore is playing well and could pull an upset.

Group 6: Justin Thomas (6), Matt Fitzpatrick (27), Kevin Na (46), Chris Wood (49): Thomas takes a lot of chances and gets easily frustrated. Kevin Na will annoy the life out of him, and Na will win the group in an upset.

Group 7: Sergio Garcia (7), Jon Rahm (21), Kevin Chappell (38), Shane Lowry (53): This is Jon Rahm's group to lose. This is his opportunity to show everyone just how great he is -- if people haven't figured it out yet.

Group 8: Alex Noren (8), Francesco Molinari (25), Bernd Wiesberger (36), Thongchai Jaidee (57): Francesco Molinari has played some under-the-radar great golf of late, and he's a good match-play player. The others have chops, but they usually are in the background on the WGC stage.

Group 9: Patrick Reed (9), Brooks Koepka (20), Kevin Kisner (34), Jason Dufner (59): If this were the Ryder Cup, Patrick Reed would win. Since it's not, Kevin Kisner is going to win, using his short game to escape his way to the Round of 16.

Group 10: Tyrrell Hatton (10), Rafa Cabrera Bello (22), Jeunghun Wang (40), Charles Howell III (61): This is a fascinating group, with three up-and-coming players in Hatton, Bello and Wang. Hatton is playing so well right now that it's hard to not pick him.

Group 11: Danny Willett, Russell Knox, Bill Haas, Kyung-tae Kim: This is a group of not-so-great options. Bill Haas seems like the right guy to get the nod here.

Group 12: Paul Casey, Charl Schwartzel, Byeong-hun An, Joost Luiten: All of these guys have the potential to easily win the group. However, all four of them are a little off their game at the moment. Byeong-hun An is as good as any pick.

Group 13: Bubba Watson, Thomas Pieters, Scott Piercy, Jhonattan Vegas: Rule out Bubba Watson. He's not putting well. Pieters seems like the obvious pick, but he can get hot-headed. Jhonny Vegas is a hometown guy through college, and he's frustrating to deal with in match play.

Group 14: Phil Mickelson, J.B. Holmes, Daniel Berger, Si Woo Kim: This seems ripe for a Phil Mickelson win, though the match with Daniel Berger should be a lot of fun.

Group 15: Branden Grace, Brandt Snedeker, William McGirt, Andy Sullivan: This is an odd group to pick from, with Grace seemingly the pedigree, Snedeker with the best short game, McGirt becoming more consistent and Sullivan having a great match-play attitude. Brandt Snedeker seems the pick.

Group 16: Matt Kuchar (16), Tommy Fleetwood (29), Zach Johnson (44), Brendan Steele (50): A lot of #LPCP (lacks pop, can't play, for No Laying Up fans) in this group. Fleetwood is playing the best golf of late, so default to him.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

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