What Is Match Play?


Today marks the start of the World Golf Championship Dell match play; the only week of the year where the PGA tour plays a different format then we are used to seeing. Normally a PGA tour event consists of four rounds (72 holes) of stroke play, in which the total score in relation to par is tallied up for each day. For example -13 after the third round means -13 after 54 holes.

However, as said above this special week is an exception to that format. Match play is sort of the one on one version of golf. In this format the player is not playing a field of 144 players but rather the one opponent he/she is matched up with. Scoring is standardized by winning holes rather than counting the number of strokes. For example: if player 1 makes birdie and player 2 makes par, player 1 is 1up. If player 2 birdies the next and player one pars, the match is back to what is called “all square” (the players are tied).

How this week’s tournament works:

The WGC Dell match play is structured as a bracket similar to the NCAA “March Madness”. The top 64 players in the world are split into 16 groups of four. In each group, all four players have a match against each other. The winner of each group moves on to the single elimination, or golf’s equivalent of the “sweet sixteen”. The winners or those matches are then cut down to eight, then four, and finally a championship match (as seen below).


Rory Mcilroy was last year’s champion. Who do you think will take it this year?

Photo by: independent.ie

Photo by: independent.ie




One Comment on “What Is Match Play?

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