Match play is a scoring system for golf in which a player, or team, earns a point for each hole in which they have bested their opponents; as opposed to stroke play, in which the total number of strokes is counted over one or more rounds of 18 holes. In match play the winner is the player, or team, with the most points at the end of play.
Although most professional tournaments are played using the stroke play scoring system, there are, or have been, some exceptions, for example the WGC Match Play and the Volvo World Match Play Championship, and most team events, for example the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, all of which are in match play format.
- 1 Scoring system
- 2 Scoring using handicaps
- 3 Tournaments featuring match play
- 4 Strategy
- 5 Alternative forms of match play
- 6 See also
- 7 External links
Unlike stroke play, in which the unit of scoring is the total number of strokes taken over one or more rounds of golf, match play scoring consists of individual holes won, halved or lost. On each hole, the most that can be gained is one point. Golfers play as normal, counting the strokes taken on a given hole. The golfer with the lowest score on a given hole receives one point. If the golfers tie, then the hole is halved. For example, in an 18-hole match, the first hole is a par-4 and Player A scores a 3 (birdie) and Player B scores a 4 (par); Player A is now 1-up with 17 to play. In the same match on the second hole, a par-5, Player A takes 8 strokes and Player B takes 5 (par); Player B wins the hole and the match is now "all square" with 16 to play. On the third hole, a par-3, both players take 3 strokes and the match is all square with 15 holes to play. Once a player is "up" more holes than there are holes remaining to play the match is over. For example, if after 12 holes Player A is 7-up with six left to play, Player A is said to have won the match "7 and 6".
A team that is leading by x holes with x holes remaining is said to be "dormie-x" or simply "dormie", meaning that they need one more halved hole to win the match (or that the other team must win all the remaining holes in order to halve the match). For example, if Player A is 2-up with 2 to play, he is dormie; the worst outcome for Player A at that point is a tie, unless the format calls for extra holes to determine a winner.
In a tournament event where the score is all square after the last hole (usually 18 or 36), the players will play on until a player wins a hole (sudden death). In the Ryder Cup and other similar team events, the match is not finished this way, and the teams each receive a half point. In such events there are points accumulated over several days, playing different formats, and the total determines the winning team.
Scoring using handicaps
Scoring match play using handicaps is not done exactly the same way it is done in a stroke play event. In 18-hole stroke play where Player A is a 10 handicap and Player B is a 19 handicap, one stroke is dedu... ...read more