The 2017 WGC-Dell Technologies Match-Play returns to Austin Country Club in Texas for the second successive year and, though the likes of Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose and Adam Scott are absent, the field is still packed full of world-class players.
Though the original straight-knockout format for this tournament meant the best could take an early exit, the current group-stage format means crowds and armchair fans get to see their favourite players play at least 3 matches, with the winner of each group progressing into the round of last-16.
The host venue is short at 7,000 yards by modern standards, but the Pete-Dye Par-71 is a beautiful tree-lined course with a variety of risk-and-reward holes and reachable-in-two par 5s that make it perfect for match-players such as Rory McIlroy and Jason Day.
There’s no better place to start than Jason Day when it comes to picking the winner, as he’s won 2 of the last 3 events, including last year’s when he arrived in stunning form. Indeed, though the format does lend itself to the idea that it could be won by any player in the field, most winners have either been a major champion or have had an outstanding Ryder Cup or President’s Cup record.
Whether Day can again find his A-game this week, after struggling for most of the season, remains to be seen, whilst Dustin Johnson has yet to take to match-play, and Jordan Spieth hasn’t got the best of records in the Ryder Cup. Therefore, Rory McIlroy looks the pick of the market leaders. He arrives here fresh and hungry after a lengthy spell on the side-lines with a rib-injury, and freshness, youth and talent should be the main ingredients required for success this week.
Another member of Europe’s Ryder Cup squad to make this week’s betting portfolio is Matt Fitzpatrick, who arrives here in solid if unspectacular form, and he played lots of match-play events in his glittering amateur career.
The only other player making the portfolio this week is Louis Oosthuizen, a player who went well here last year and has a brilliant President’s Cup Record. He’s grouped with Hideki Matsuyama who, despite being the best player in the world at the beginning of the season, has gone off the boil at the moment.
2017 WGC Matchplay Tips
Roy McIlroy 3 Points Each-Way @ 15/2 (Skybet, Betfair Sportsbook) ¼ odds 4 places
Matt Fitzpatrick 1 Point Each-Way @ 70/1 (Bet365) ¼ odds 4 places
Louis Oosthuizen 1 Point Each-Way @ (Bet365, Stan James) ¼ odds 4 places