WGC-Match Play Golf Betting Tips 2022

Who is the GM Tipster backing to win the Match Play in Austin this week?

Betting tips selections for the WGC-Match Play
(Image credit: Future)

WGC-Match Play Golf Betting Tips 2022

It’s a change of pace and format this week with the $12m WGC-Dell Match Play Championship back at its Texan home of the last six years, the Austin Country Club.

Stand by for a Wednesday start (get those bets on early!) and a seven-round eyeball to-eyeball  competition where fitness is more of an asset than usual … and if the last three renewals are anything to go by, prepare for a shock result.

Bubba Watson, seeded 35th, Kevin Kisner, seeded 48th, and Billy Horschel, seeded 32nd, were the last men standing in 2018-19-21 (no tournament in 2020) and if you backed any of that trio, good luck to you.

Time for full disclosure: I’ve been tipping on the Match Play since 1999 and never found the winner nor even a finalist. There, I’ve said it. So you should probably avoid today’s picks like the plague! Or, on the principle that even a blind squirrel occasionally finds an acorn, go along with them just once more under “the law of averages” banner. Sadly, this commonly-held belief isn’t a law at all but a load of rubbish!

Let’s start with the format: 64 players line up and are split into 16 four-man round-robin groups. Each of the top 16 seeds gets his own group, the other three members being drawn out of the proverbial hat. They play each other on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with the one with the most points going through to the last 16 which comes down to eight after Saturday afternoon’s quarter-finals.

And then there were four. Two semi-finals on Sunday morning identify the finalists who battle it out for the $2.16m top prize and the two losers relegated to the third-place playoff. All matches are over 18 holes so fast starters are advantaged as there’s not the normal 54-hole cushion left to play catch-up. This is where you can shoot 72 and still get through (if your opponent shoots 73) or shoot 68 and go out (if the other guy shoots 67).

So there’s a fair bit of luck involved. To back that up, just look at the semi-finalists the past three years: only Kisner (2nd 2018, 1st 2019) and Matt Kuchar (2nd 2018, 3rd 2021) have two entries. As those two play a similar, ploddingly accurate game that doesn’t rely on power, you might try looking for golfers of that ilk to thrive on Pete Dye’s 7108-yard par 71 in the Texas state capital. One other stat: for the first time since the round-robin groups were introduced in 2015, not one of the 16 main seeds made it past the quarter-finals last year.

There aren’t many courses which show Kisner to best advantage but when he finds one he performs superbly. Fourth on another Dye creation, TPC Sawgrass, at the Players Championship and Waialae (3rd) in the Sony. Austin, on the banks of the Colorado river, is clearly another.

Six eligible players are missing: Rory McIlroy, Cameron Smith, Sam Burns, Hideki Matsuyama, Harris English and Phil Mickelson, the last-named still figuring out where next to show his face after last month’s ill-advised attack on the PGA Tour. But one who will be there after a long break while a wrist injury healed is that big drawcard Bryson DeChambeau. He’s itching to resume and may take out his frustration by bringing Austin to its knees. He could be a more interesting betting proposition at Augusta National.

World No. 1 Jon Rahm will be keen to go one better than he did five years ago when pipped by Dustin Johnson in a thrilling final and the same goes for Dallas-based Scottie Scheffler who lost out to Horschel in last year’s final. Big Scheff is an even bigger danger now he’s got those wins at Phoenix and Bay Hill tucked under his belt, not forgetting the drubbing he inflicted on Rahm at the Ryder Cup. On current form he’s arguably the best in the world and he looked right at home in matchplay at Whistling Straits. He goes up against three Englishmen in his group - Fitzpatrick, Poulter and Fleetwood.

Viktor Hovland seems to be on every leaderboard and has a great temperament but there’s a danger in trying to relate form in 72-hole strokeplay golf to 18-hole matchplay. They are two very different animals. Even so, I will always want him on my team.

As a past champion, DJ has to come into the conversation but he wasn’t too convincing last week while Xander Schauffele hasn’t quite found his stride this year and Justin Thomas will need to drive better than he did at the Valspar if it is to be his year. Even though third place at Valspar was JT’s fourth top-ten of the campaign, he looks vulnerable and relentless Kisner may take him out in Group 6.

Kisner apart, players outside the 16 main seeds to consider are gutsy Swede Alex Noren, third to Bubba Watson in 2018, exciting newcomer Cam Young, a double winner on the Korn Ferry circuit last year and already showing he has what it takes when mixing it with the big boys and ultra-consistent Russell Henley.

The underrated Noren keeps posting big finishes (6th Phoenix, 5th Honda, 12th Valspar) and it would come as no major surprise if he put the cat among the pigeons here and took some big scalps. He’s in Group 10 with Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen and Corey Conners. All the groups are tough but this one looks easier than most, although dual finalist Casey is much respected after his great show at Sawgrass.

Rahm hasn’t been at his best on his two latest outings and won’t be looking forward to tackling Young in Group I. If Riviera runner-up Young can catch the Spaniard on an off-day, I’d expect this huge talent to see off the struggling Patrick Reed and Sebastian Munoz and advance to the last 16. As No. 2 on the long-driving stats with an average poke of just under 320 yards, the New Yorker will be knocking it past Rahm so watch out for fireworks!

Henley’s chance comes in a weakish Group 14 against Kevin Na, Joaquin Niemann and Maverick McNealy. He has made his last 17 cuts, was runner-up at Waialae and posted three more top-15s since. Very much in the dogged Kisner mould, Henley’s a handful for anybody.

We’re in for a good-weather week, thank goodness, with plenty of sun and temperatures in the high 20s. Bring it on!

WGC-Match Play Golf Betting Tips 2022

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Jeremy Chapman
GM Tipster

Celebrating my 52nd year tipping and writing about golf. Tipped more than 800 winners (and more than 8000 losers!). First big winner Lee Trevino at 8-1, 1972 Open at Muirfield. Biggest win £40 each-way Ernie Els at 80-1 and 50-1, 2012 Open. Most memorable: Giving the 1-2-3 at 33-1, 50-1, 33-1 out of 4 tips from a field of 180 in 2006 Pebble Beach Pro-Am. According to one bookmaker “Undoubtedly one of the greatest tipping performances of all time”. And, of course, putting up a 150/1 winner with Stewart Cink in my very first column for Golf Monthly. Lowest handicap 9 Present handicap 35.6. Publications tipped for: Sporting Life, Racing Post, Racing&Football Outlook, Golf World, Golf Weekly, Golf Monthly, Fitzdares Times. Check our Jeremy's latest tips at our Golf Betting tips home page