Head-to-head records: The leading contenders ahead of the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play

It’s a rare week of no strokeplay golf for the world’s elite as they head to Austin Country Club for the second Word Golf Championship event of the year.

Not all professional golfers enjoy match play golf.

Tiger Woods, for example, is always guarded in his analysis of the format.

The strokeplay form of the game counts every single shot, good and bad, all week; in contrast, match play permits you to forget the bad ones at the end of every hole.

World class players often smart at that distinction and, as a consequence, many don't have records that reflect their world rankings status.

The move of the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play to Austin Country Club typifies the mercurial nature of the head-to-head formula.

The current world number one Dustin Johnson has triumphed here (in 2017) and so have Major winners Jason Day and Bubba Watson (in 2016 and 2018).

But Kevin Kisner prevailed in 2019 and he also made the final the year before.

Let's take a closer look at the match play records of the biggest names in this week's field.

The leading contenders

Dustin Johnson (Paddy Power odds - 14/1)

The world number one had a real problem with this tournament when it was held at Ritz Carlton, five times not making it into the final 32 with a best effort of no better than reaching the last 16.

He initially improved when it moved to Austin, making the quarter-final stage in 2016 and winning in 2017, but since then he's resumed his old manner of appearing somewhat baffled by the format, failing to advance from the group stage.

He's won just one of his last six matches in the event and has an overall record in all match play of 20-16-1 (Wins-Losses-Halves).

Bryson DeChambeau (Paddy Power odds - 12/1)

The man of the moment has very little experience of this form of the game.

He was beaten by Alex Noren in the 2018 Ryder Cup, shared a point with Adam Hadwin in the 2019 Presidents Cup, lost to Marc Leishman and Kiradech Aphibarnrat in the 2019 edition of this event, and beat Russell Knox.

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That's it. A pretty miserable 1-3-1. He is, of course, a different player now and in both size, reputation and hitting power he has an intimidation factor. How it impacts will be one of the talking points all week.

Justin Thomas (Paddy Power odds - 11/1)

An undoubtedly fine and world class golfer, but one who has never really proved it in this form of the game and he owns a career record that is in deficit: 8-10-1.

If he had not reached the semi-final stage of this event in 2018 that logbook would be even more ropey and he only beat one world top 20 player to get that far (Francesco Molinari).

A fifth tournament start and 2018 remains the only time he progress from his first round group.

Jon Rahm (Paddy Power odds - 12/1)

His introduction to the format and this tournament was imperious.

He blitzed his way through the group and bracket stages of the 2017 event before Dustin Johnson took him down in a big-hitting final. Since then, however, he's won just one of six matches and not left the group stage.

Rahm celebrates defeating Tiger Woods.
Rahm celebrates defeating Tiger Woods.

He defeated Tiger Woods in the 2018 Ryder Cup, but his 8-4-2 match play record is heavily reliant on that one week four years ago.

Collin Morikawa (Paddy Power odds - 18/1)

A complete novice at match play in the pro game, but what we know of his game - an expert at approach play - will surely place pressure on his opponents.

Rory McIlroy (Paddy Power odds - 16/1)

The Northern Irishman owns the best match play record of the players discussed so far. True, he's had bad weeks at this event, but he's made the knockout stages more regularly others at the top of the market.

He won the event at Harding Park in 2015, he was second at Ritz Carlton in 2012 and fourth on debut at Austin in 2016. In all, he has a match play singles record of 32-17-3.

Can the format change prompt a revival? He needs it because, when last seen, he cut a dejected picture following a poor final round at Bay Hill and an early departure in THE PLAYERS Champisonship.

Patrick Reed (Paddy Power odds - 25/1)

The American has the reputation of a match play wizard and yet that has really only translated in the Ryder and Presidents Cup.

In this tournament he has made six starts and is yet to make the final eight, twice departing in the last 16.

Reed loves the Ryder Cup.
Reed loves the Ryder Cup.

In the Ryder Cup? Gun: three matches, three wins. In the Presidents Cup? Louis Oosthuizen has his number (beaten him once, halved another). Overall? 16-10-3.

Jordan Spieth (Paddy Power odds - 25/1)

Spieth made the quarter-final stage in his tournament debut in 2014 at Ritz Carlton and the last 16 when it first came to Austin in 2016, but that's as good as his match play experience gets.

He's also got a terrible record in singles matches at the Ryder and Presidents Cup, playing six and losing all of them. In all, he's 12-12-2.

Lively outsiders

Paul Casey (Paddy Power odds - 30/1)

The Englishman first hinted at his fondness for this format with victory in the old Wentworth World Match Play in 2006. Since then he has made the last eight in this tournament at The Gallery in 2007 and Harding Park in 2015, and was twice a runner-up at the Ritz Carlton.

He's played a lot of match play golf and has an impressive overall record of 37-26-5.

He's also made just six starts in 2021 and never ended the week outside the top 12, including victory in the Dubai Desert Classic and fifth at THE PLAYERS.

Louis Oosthuizen (Paddy Power odds - 40/1)

The South African's initial efforts in this format were far from outstanding, failing to make the last 16 in four editions of this tournament and one of the European Tour's World Match Play.

But in the last six renewals of this championship he has been transformed. He's three times made the last eight, once made the last 16 and in 2016 he was a beaten finalist.

He's also undefeated in the Presidents Cup which has helped him amass an impressive 23-14-3 record in all match play singles.

READ MORE: Lee Westwood the bridesmaid again but continues his charge back up the world rankings

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