Matchplay is perhaps one of the most exciting and perhaps one of the most underused formats in golf. Rarely do you find regular Matchplay competitions being held at clubs at the weekend at there are just a few Matchplay tournaments on the professional tour?
However, the Ryder Cup, perhaps the best golf competition in the world, is entirely matchplay, which is perhaps why it is so exciting an event.
It is man against man or two-man team against two-man team (or pairing) and the score is kept by recording the number of holes won or lost.
It is usually played over 18 holes. If a competitor takes fewer strokes on a hole than his opponent, he wins the hole and goes one up. If he wins the next, he goes two-up; if he loses it he is back to all-square. A match is completed when a player is more holes ahead than there are holes left to play – as when, for example, he goes four up with only three holes remaining. In this instance, he has won 4&3. In the event of the opponent being all-square after 18 holes, the match is halved, or shared, with each player collecting half a point.
A player is regarded as ‘dormie’ when he is ahead by the number of holes remaining to be played. So if, for example, he should win the 16th to be two up with two to play, he cannot be beaten. His opponent may still, however, win the final two holes to halve the match.
Because they are playing each other, putts may be conceded, or given, so if a player putted his ball to within a few inches of the hole, his opponent would probably ‘give’ him the remaining stroke to save time. Equally, if player A has difficulty on a hole and eventually gets to the green in four strokes and at best can score five, while his opponent is six feet away from the flagstick in two, he may well concede the hole, certain that his opponent will do no worse than two-putt. Because of this, scores in match play are often estimated.
|The Terms||Matchplay Explanation|
Match is equal
2 hole ahead
3 holes behind
5 holes ahead with only 3 holes left to play. Wins on the 15th Hole