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AUSTIN, Texas – Defending champion Bubba Watson has committed to return to the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, tournament officials announced Wednesday. Watson, who will be making his ninth career start in the event, will return to defend his title on March 27-31 when the top 64 players in the world head to Austin Country Club to battle match-play style.
Watson steamrolled his way to victory in Austin last year, posting the most dominant victory in championship match history since the championship match switched to 18 holes with a 7&6 victory over Kevin Kisner. After seven holes, Watson was already 6-up over Kisner and he never trailed in 28 holes played over the course of the semifinal and championship match after defeating 2017 FedExCup champion Justin Thomas 3&2 in the semifinals. Watson arrived to the final four after dispatching Brian Harman 2&1 in the round of 16 and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat 5&3 in the quarterfinals. He advanced to the round of 16 after finishing 2-1-0 in group play to win his pod.
“Unbelievable. A dream come true,” Watson said after his 2018 victory. “Obviously ending on the 12th hole makes it a lot easier than try to battle and go extra holes like [Kisner] did this morning.”
With his second World Golf Championships victory, Watson joined Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, and Ernie Els as the only players to have won multiple World Golf Championships events and multiple major championships. Watson previously won the 2014 WGC-HSBC Champions and the 2012 and 2014 Masters Tournament.
“It’s absolutely amazing. You know, you don't think about lists or anything, you just think about trophies and trying to win. And having two majors, and now having two World Golf Championships are the closest things to majors. You're talking about the top in the world were here this week,” Watson said. “So, what an honor and a privilege, overwhelming sensation to know that I have another trophy at the house.”
Watson, who now has 12 PGA TOUR victories to his credit after wins at the Genesis Open, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and Travelers Championship, was one of just four PGA TOUR players with three wins or more during the 2017-18 season, joining Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas. Watson is set to defend his title at the Genesis Open on Thursday at Riviera, where he’s won three of the last five years (2014, 2016, 2018).
Reigning PGA TOUR Player of the Year Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele, who has already won twice on the PGA TOUR during the 2018-19 season including the WGC-HSBC Champions, have each already announced their commitment to return to the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, with more commitments of the world’s top stars to be released in the coming weeks.
Tickets for the 2019 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play remain on sale at dellmatchplay.com and are expected to sell out for a fourth consecutive year with daily grounds tickets available for purchase for the first time since the tournament moved to Austin. Weekly grounds tickets remain on sale and total onsite attendance is once again limited to 10,000 per day.
With a rare, match-play format consisting of the top 64 players in the Official World Golf Rankings, the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play field annually consists of the very best players from around the world from all Tours. Fans attending the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play have the opportunity to see players like Watson, Thomas, Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Brooks Koepka, and Justin Rose.
As one in a series of four World Golf Championships events sanctioned and organized by the operational committee of the International Federation of PGA Tours, which includes the Asian Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour, the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is one of the most exciting and biggest events on golf’s calendar.
For more information, follow the tournament’s social pages: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit www.dellmatchplay.com.
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