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Dell Match Play: Behind the March Madness-style PGA golf tourney coming to Austin

UT alum Scottie Scheffler will compete in the Dell Match Play tournament this Wednesday-Sunday. (Dell Match Play/Twitter)

Not feeling your March Madness brackets?

You're in luck—Austin is getting a bracket-style pro sports tournament of its own as the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play tournament hits the Austin Country Club Wednesday.

Running from Wednesday-Saturday, some of the world's best golfers will go head to head in Austin as the PGA players embark on an unorthodox, fun-loving PGA Tournament in the city.

Here's a look at the ins and outs of the tournament:

The background

The Dell Match Play tournament has been the only World Golf Championship in the world to employ a match style of play since its start in 1999.

Nestled near the blueish waters of Lake Austin at the Austin Country Club since 2016, the tournament begins with 16 sets of four golfers who compete with each other before advancing to the final rounds

The style of play has a unique place in the golf sphere: upsets against world champions like Tiger Woods (although he's won the tournament three times) became common in the dramatic, topsy-turvy tourney.

Here's how it works:

The top 64 golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking compete in 16 pods of four similar to March Madness pairings (top-seeded players compete against a lower seed, with two in the middle.) The tournament used to be single-elimination but has worked in a round-robin format for the past seven years.

Golfers will need to win more than the other three in their pod before advancing to the "Sweet 16." This is where the knockout rounds begin as 16 golfers narrow to quarterfinals, semifinals and finally a final round as the winner is decided.

And that top golfer wins big: last year, 32nd-seed Billy Horschel took the tournament with a surprise win and left with nearly $2 million. This year, the purse is set at 12 million, with the winner taking home over $2.1 million as the championship ends Sunday.

The bracket

Sitting at No. 1 in the world is Spanish pro golfer Jon Rahm, who will have to play against contenders including "match-play specialist" Patrick Reed in order to reach the finals.

But perhaps more interesting are the amount of golfers with Austin ties: Scottie Scheffler, a University of Texas alum who is the current leader of the FedExCup, is the defending runner-up of the tournament and sits at the fifth seed in Group 5. Scheffler, who graduated just four years ago, also famously toppled Rahm in the Ryder Cup Singles last year.

Fellow UT grad Jordan Spieth will also compete as the top seed (11) in Group 11, and will have tough competition against champs Keegan Bradley, Justin Rose and Adam Scott.

Other top contenders include defending champ Billy Horschel (12), Kevin Kisner, who won the tournament in 2019, past FedExCup champ Justin Thomas, and Bryson DeChambeau (9), who is returning to the PGA Tour for the first time since January.

Check out a more in-depth breakdown of the bracket here.

How to go

Golf lovers and fans of a golf party can purchase single-day tickets starting at $141 or buy for the whole week, with general grounds tickets priced at $568. Parking tickets for Lot 5 at Barton Creek Mall are priced at $50.

The first 500 military veterans are eligible for free tickets each day at the tournament, while up to 500 kids under 15 will be permitted into the premises each day.

Past attendees include Matthew McConaughey and more Austin celebs, and attendance averages at around 10,000 throughout the week. Purchase your tickets here.


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