Reigning FedExCup champion Justin Thomas commits to 2018 Dell Technologies Match Play
AUSTIN, Texas – The World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play announced Wednesday that reigning FedExCup champion Justin Thomas has committed to this year’s event, which will be held March 21-25 at Austin Country Club. Thomas won the 2017 FedExCup and 2017 PGA TOUR Player of the Year honors on the strength of five victories a year ago and has already added another victory this season at THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in October.
“Austin is a great place, and Austin Country Club is a fun course,” Thomas said. “It’s a great match-play course. You have a lot of variety in terms of the wind conditions and the course can play easy to very difficult. The greens are tough. You can kind of get a lot of greens there that are exposed with that wind. Luckily, it being a match-play event, you’re only worried about the opponent that you’re playing against. It’s a fun test.”
With only four events remaining until the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Thomas, a seven-time PGA TOUR winner, joins what is sure to be one of the strongest fields of the year with current FedExCup points leader Patton Kizzire, defending champion Dustin Johnson (No. 2 in the FedExCup standings), 2015 champion Rory McIlroy and defending Masters Tournament winner Sergio Garcia as some of the notable early commitments.
Despite posting seven PGA TOUR wins in his first 100 starts on TOUR, Thomas, 24, has yet to make it out of group play the last two years in Austin and thinks he knows why he hasn’t found early success in the unique match-play event.
“Everyone here is really, really, really good. The top 64 in the world,” said Thomas of the match-play format. “And anybody can win any day.”
Also joining Thomas in the field will be 10-time PGA TOUR winner Bubba Watson, who jumped inside the top 64 in the Official World Golf Rankings with a two-shot victory over Tony Finau and Kevin Na at the Genesis Open on Sunday. It was the third time Watson has won the Genesis Open and helped him vault from No. 117 to No. 40 in the Official World Golf Rankings.
When told that he’d jumped inside the top 64 in the world rankings and would likely get into the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play thanks to his first victory in nearly two years, Watson jokingly came up with a creative plan to ensure he’d remain there through March 12.
“Oh, perfect,” said Watson when informed he’d vaulted up to No. 40 and would be in the field in Austin. “So, I'll take the rest of the weeks off so I can stay there.”
Keegan Bradley was the only player to fall outside of the top 64 in the world rankings this week, dropping from No. 64 to No. 69.
Three former University of Texas golfers – Jordan Spieth (No. 3), Dylan Frittelli (No. 47), and Jhonattan Vegas (No. 49) are currently inside the top 64 and would be qualified if the cutoff were today. With only three events on the PGA TOUR schedule remaining before the March 12 qualification deadline, former Longhorns Beau Hossler (No. 206) and Cody Gribble (No. 336) sit on the outside looking in and will need to post strong results in the next three weeks to move inside the top 64. Austin resident Andrew Landry (No. 116) is also outside of the top 64 and is hoping to play his way into the field over the next three events.
The 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, the third of four World Golf Championships events during the 2017-18 season, has a limited number of tickets remaining. Tickets can be purchased at DellTechnologiesMatchPlay.com or by calling 844-868-7465. Tickets available include weekly grounds badges that grant access to the Austin Country Club grounds and all public venues, fan activations and bleachers. Additionally, ULTRA Club badges are available. The ULTRA Club, which is located on the 12th fairway, offers an enhanced venue to follow the action, with several televisions located throughout and open seating for guests to sit and mingle in a relaxed sports bar setting.
Those who purchased tickets are reminded that youth 18 and under will be admitted free all week when accompanied by a ticketed adult (one free youth ticket per each adult ticket will be available). This free ticket only applies for grounds tickets and not upgraded hospitality options.
The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is one of the most elite and exciting tournaments on golf’s calendar as one in a series of four World Golf Championships events sanctioned and organized by the operational committee of the International Federation of PGA Tours, which includes the Asian Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour. The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play field annually consists of the very best players from around the world from all Tours and traditionally features nearly all of the top 64 in the world.
Since its inception, the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play has generated more than $17 million for charity with the tournament announcing in early October that the 2017 edition raised over $1.1 million for five Austin-based charities.