McIlroy ready to enter Spieth territory in WGC Dell Match Play

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The PGA will make its first regular tour appearance in Austin in just 28 days when the WGC Dell Match Play opens March 23 at Austin Country Club.

Wednesday, the even held a media day, highlighted by defending WGC Match Play champion, Rory McIlroy.

“I’ve always enjoyed the Match Play,” McIlroy said via a satellite interview. “I love the format. I feel like I can be myself a little bit more and be aggressive, and it worked out really well for me last year.”

While McIlroy will be defending his crown, the crowd favorite figures to be former Longhorn and current World No. 1 Jordan Spieth.

“Obviously Jordan [is] the home boy there, and it would be great to go against him,” McIlroy said. “I know that 99.9 percent of the crowd will be with him. His year last year is one of the best years ever in the history of golf. It’s well deserved that he goes there and probably the favorite, and it’s up to us to go there and try and beat him in his own backyard.”

Spieth, meanwhile, is looking forward to playing an official tour event in Austin for the first time.

“I’m excited for the match play in Austin,” Spieth said in a taped interview. “I think Austin Country Club is going to bring in all of Austin. It’s going to be a lot of fun to be back home, too.”

The tournament will be match play, featuring three days of round-robin golf, with the winner from each three-person group advancing to the knockout stage, which will be a 16-player, single-elimination tournament.

“I love Match Play format,” Spieth said. “It allows you to take more chances. It allows you  to play more aggressive, also to play against your opponent. It’s a little more of a mental game.

Native Austinites and World Golf Hall of Famers Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw were also on hand to usher in the event ACC.

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