The Loop

The Loop

Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth to appear on Golf Channel's WGC-Dell Match Play bracket special

March 15, 2017

Stan Badz

NBC/Golf channel announced on Wednesday that the WGC-Dell Match Play bracket special is coming back before next week's tournament. And this year, the crop of guests is better than ever.

Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Paul Casey are all scheduled to make appearances during the 90-minute live special Monday at 7:30 p.m. on Golf Channel ahead of the event that starts Wednesday at Austin Country Club. All four players are in the top 15 of the Official World Golf Ranking and McIlroy was the winner of the tournament in 2015.

But the guests on the show aren't limited to current PGA Tour stars. World Golf Hall of Fame members Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite, Texas governor Greg Abbott, actor Luke Wilson, former University of Texas football coach Mack Brown and current Longhorns coach Tom Herman will also be involved.

The show will be filmed in front of a live audience at the Hotel Van Zandt in Austin. Ryan Burr will once again host, with help from analysts Brandel Chamblee and Tim Rosaforte.

Automatic qualifying through the Official World Golf Ranking ended at the Valspar Championship, although it's not just the top 64 players who will be in Austin. Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Adam Scott and Adam Hadwin have withdrawn from the event.

Like with the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament selection show, the main purpose of the program is to determine the bracket. Although, the event plays out a little differently than college basketball's March Madness. For a third year, there will be 16 pods of four players with the field's top 16 players according Official World Golf Ranking being split up. On Monday's show, there will be a blind draw to fill out the rest of the groups with each group getting one player seeded 17-32, one player 33-48, and one player 49-64.

Round-robin matches will be played Wednesday (giving you an extra day to watch golf while at work) through Friday to determine the winner of each group. From there, the bracket really begins with the 16 remaining players competing in a single-elimination tournament the rest of the way. The change guarantees each golfer will play at least three matches and ensures a host of juicy match-ups. Jason Day is the defending champ.

The groups and those round-robin matches will be revealed at Monday night's selection show. Unfortunately, there's no chance of a Keegan Bradley-Miguel Angel Jimenez rematch this year, but should still be left with plenty to talk about.