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Golf-Kisner hopes return to match-play format will put him in Ryder Cup frame

Frank Pingue

Defending champion Kevin Kisner has a great record in singles matches at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and hopes a return to that format this week in Austin, Texas, will jumpstart his game and get him into the Ryder Cup conversation.

Kisner finished runner-up at Austin Country Club in 2018 and returned the following year to secure the biggest win of his career but neither showing was enough to get him on the U.S. team for the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris or 2019 Presidents Cup in Melbourne.

“I think the big thing is there’s courses for horses and the only one that I really felt really good about going to play was in Australia… and probably Paris a few years ago,” Kisner said on Monday.

“Both those courses I felt like I could compete on, but I didn’t show enough to the captains leading up to deserve a pick, so the only way to fix that is to do it on your own merit.”

This year’s Ryder Cup will be held in September at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin.

Kisner has competed only five times in 2021, due in part to a decision to spend more time with his family after he and his wife had their third child in February, and he is coming off a missed cut at the Players Championship.

But world number 36 Kisner hopes a busier schedule in the weeks ahead will bring about a return to form that once had him as high as 14 in the rankings.

“This is my stretch right here; starting in Austin I’m getting ready to play five of the next six and then continue on through the summer where I like to play a lot of golf,” said Kisner. “So hopefully this is another turning point for me to get the game rolling.”

Kisner will face world number two Justin Thomas, former British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and world number 57 Matt Kuchar in round-robin play in Austin where the winner of each group advances to a 16-player knockout phase.

“I enjoy the difference in strategy, I enjoy playing one-on-one, not just playing the golf course,” said Kisner.

“I enjoy changing up through the round how the match is unfolding, a lot of different variations throughout the day, and I enjoy having to make a few pressure-packed putts to keep the momentum on your side.”

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