Whether you actually attended the Dell Match Play event at Austin Country Club or watched it on TV with the national television audience, there were several key takeaways from the event.
First, Austin was the perfect city for this event. The players and tour officials said as much.
“I don’t think in the history of the PGA Tour we’ve had a first-time event as successful as Austin,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem told Dan Hicks on the NBC telecast with the Pennybacker/360 Bridge beautifully captured in the background.
Finchem, who announced on Sunday that he would be retiring from his position at the end of 2016, said the tour had wanted to get back to Austin since the Legends of Golf was played here (from 1978-1994).
“Austin is the 11th largest city in the country and it doesn’t have a major sports franchise,” Finchem pointed out. “And the fans here love golf and are very knowledgeable about the game so I think it was a great week for the PGA Tour and all those involved.”
Second, Austin Country Club is an ideal venue to host such an event. The layout presented more than its share of challenges to the golfers with common features/obstacles Central Texas golfers are accustom to facing on most courses including tree-lined fairways and dramatic elevation changes from tee to green. Add in the mix gusty winds and undulating greens and even the best golfers in the world were challenged on a consistent basis.
Lastly, as the PGA Tour’s motto suggests, these guys are good.
Golf fans at the club and those watching on television were treated to some quality golf not only in the individual shots made, but in the match pairings that evolved as the tournament progressed. While the locals wanted to see former Longhorn and no. 1 ranked player in the world Jordan Spieth win the inaugural event, the next best thing happened as Jason Day, the second-ranked player in the world met third-ranked Rory McIlroy in the semifinals on Sunday with Day securing victory on the final hole before eventually defeating Louis Oosthuizen in the final match. As a result of his victory, the Australian vaulted past Spieth to reclaim the no. 1 spot in the world golf rankings.
By all accounts the Dell Match Play event was a smashing success and a great start to what we can only hope is the first of many years of the world’s best golfers coming to town and battling it out for the title and putting Austin front and center on the world golfing stage.