Everything you need to know about the new format and seedings/groups for the WGC-Cadillac Match Play Championship
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

The WGC-Cadillac Match Championship kicks off this week at a new venue, TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, along with a completely revamped format.

An important FYI: The matches start on Wednesday. Here’s what else you need to know:

*Based on the Official Golf World Rankings at the end of the RBC Heritage, 64 of the top 67 ranked players are in the field.

*Luke Donald and Tim Clark are not in the Cadillac Match Play field. Donald is attending his brother’s wedding while Clark is recovering from a wrist injury. They are replaced in the field by No. 65 Miguel Angel Jimenez and No. 66 Francesco Molinari.

*World no. 18 Phil Mickelson withdrew from the event on Sunday, citing personal reasons.

“I’m really happy with the new format and TPC Harding Park is a terrific setting for match play, so it’s unfortunate that I won’t be able to play this year,” said Mickelson.

Phil was replaced by Finland’s Mikko Illonen.

*The field was finalized on Monday, April 20, but the seeding for the tournament is based off the most recent Official World Golf Ranking, released Sunday, April 26, following the conclusion of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, to ensure the field reflects the most recent OWGR to more accurately seed the players.

The seeding for the tournament is as follows:

Seed/ Player/ Country
1 Rory McIlroy N Ireland
2 Jordan Spieth USA
3 Henrik Stenson Sweden
4 Bubba Watson USA
5 Jim Furyk USA
6 Justin Rose England
7 Jason Day Australia
8 Dustin Johnson USA
9 Adam Scott Australia
10 Sergio Garcia Spain
11 Jimmy Walker USA
12 J.B. Holmes USA
13 Rickie Fowler USA
14 Matt Kuchar USA
15 Patrick Reed USA
16 Hideki Matsuyama Japan
17 Martin Kaymer Germany
18 Billy Horschel USA
19 Brooks Koepka USA
20 Kevin Na USA
21 Victor Dubuisson France
22 Ryan Palmer USA
23 Bill Haas USA
24 Zach Johnson USA
25 Chris Kirk USA
26 Lee Westwood England
27 Ian Poulter England
28 Ryan Moore USA
29 Louis Oosthuizen S. Africa
30 Jamie Donaldson Wales
31 Hunter Mahan USA
32 Graeme McDowell N Ireland
33 Keegan Bradley USA
34 Anirban Lahiri India
35 Brandt Snedeker USA
36 Paul Casey England
37 Charl Schwartzel S. Africa
38 Branden Grace S. Africa
39 Bernd Wiesberger Austria
40 Matt Every USA
41 Stephen Gallacher Scotland
42 Brendon Todd USA
43 Joost Luiten NED
44 Thongchai Jaidee Thailand
45 Russell Henley USA
46 Webb Simpson USA
47 Shane Lowry Ireland
48 Danny Willett England
49 Charley Hoffman USA
50 Gary Woodland USA
51 Marc Warren Scotland
52 Alexander Levy France
53 Jason Dufner USA
54 Tommy Fleetwood England
55 Harris English USA
56 Marc Leishman Australia
57 Andy Sullivan England
58 Matt Jones Australia
59 George Coetzee S. Africa
60 John Senden Australia
61 Ben Martin USA
62 Mikko Ilonen Finland
63 Miguel A Jimenez Spain
64 Francesco Molinari Italy

*There are 11 players making their first-career Cadillac Match Play start. They are Matt Every (USA), Tommy Fleetwood (ENG), Matt Jones (AUS), Brooks Koepka (USA), Anirban Lahiri (IND), Alexander Levy (FRA), Ben Martin (USA), Andy Sullivan (ENG), Brendon Todd (USA), Marc Warren (SCO) and Danny Willett (ENG).

*Of that list, Ben Martin and Andy Sullivan are making their World Golf Championships debut.

*The new player selection process determining the groupings that will complete the competition bracket for the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Match Play was shown live on Golf Channel at noon EST on Monday.

*The new format this year will assign the top seed for each of the 16 four-player groups based on the top 16 players in order of their position in the Official World Golf Ranking. The remaining three players in each group will be determined by a blind draw from each of three pools depending on their standing in the OWGR (17-32, 33-48 and 49-64). Each group will play round-robin matches within their group Wednesday through Friday. The player with the best record in each group advances to the Round of 16 for single-elimination match play.

*In layman terms, the top 16 players each had their own group (or they’re the top-seeded player). Then, players based on their seeding — 17-32, 33-48, 49-64 — were drawn at random to fill the remaining three spots in a pool. So, since Rory McIlroy is ranked no. 1, a player was picked from the pool of 17-32 for the second seed in his four-person group. Next, a player from that same pool was selected for Jordan Spieth’s group, and so on and so forth. After each of the top 16 players had drawn a second player from the 17-32 pool, the same process was repeated for the remaining two pools. Make sense? OK, good.

*Using the rankings noted above, the player pools for the draw are shown below.

Top 16
1. Rory McIlroy
2. Jordan Spieth
3. Henrik Stenson
4. Bubba Watson
5. Jim Furyk
6. Justin Rose
7. Jason Day
8. Dustin Johnson
9. Adam Scott
10. Sergio Garcia
11. Jimmy Walker
12. JB Holmes
13. Rickie Fowler
14. Matt Kuchar
15. Patrick Reed
16. Hideki Matsuyama

Group 17-32
17. Martin Kaymer
18. Billy Horschel
19. Brooks Koepka
20. Kevin Na
21. Victor Dubuisson
22. Ryan Palmer
23. Bill Haas
24. Zach Johnson
25. Chris Kirk
26. Lee Westwood
27. Ian Poulter
28. Ryan Moore
29. Louis Oosthuizen
30. Jamie Donaldson
31. Hunter Mahan
32. Graeme McDowell

Group 33-48
33. Keegan Bradley
34. Anirban Lahiri
35. Brandt Snedeker
36. Paul Casey
37. Charl Schwartzel
38. Branden Grace
39. Bernd Wiesberger
40. Matt Every
41. Stephen Gallacher
42. Brendon Todd
43. Joost Luiten
44. Thongchai Jaidee
45. Russell Henley
46. Webb Simpson
47. Shane Lowry
48. Danny Willett

Group 49-64
49. Charley Hoffman
50. Gary Woodland
51. Marc Warren
52. Alexander Levy
53. Jason Dufner
54. Tommy Fleetwood
55. Harris English
56. Marc Leishman
57. Andy Sullivan
58. Matt Jones
59. George Coetzee
60. John Senden
61. Ben Martin
62. Mikko Ilonen
63. Miguel A. Jimenez
64. Francesco Molinari

*Each group will play round-robin matches within their group on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The player with the best record in each of the four player groups advances to the Round of 16 for single-elimination match play (in the event of a two-way tie in a group, head-to-head match results will be used as the tiebreaker; a three-way tie will require a sudden-death stroke play hole-by-hole-playoff).

*The Round of 16 will be played Saturday morning, followed by the Quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon. The Semifinals will be Sunday morning, followed by the Championship Match and Consolation Match on Sunday afternoon.

*With this format change, players are guaranteed three matches before they begin to get eliminated.

*Here’s the final draw from the selection process (you can download a copy of the groupings here):

Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 11.02.10 AM


As you can see, world no. 1 Rory McIlroy got a pretty tough draw and will be pitted against three tough Americans, reigning FedExCup champion Billy Horschel, seven-times PGA Tour winner Brandt Snedeker and 2013 PGA Champion Jason Dufner, in his round-robin matches.

It should be a thrilling week with lots of golf!