Rory McIlroy looks to defend his title this week at the WGC Match Play Championship in an event that’s seen a slight change of format and a new venue

The WGC Match Play begins on Wednesday at the Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas to mark the second World Golf Championship of the year.

Last year’s playing saw Rory McIlroy come out triumphant after beating Gary Woodland 4&2 in the final at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, California.

Listen to the Golf Monthly WGC Match Play Preview podcast

The event was previously played at Dove Mountain in Marana Arizona from 2007-2014 before last year’s WGC-Cadillac Match Play in San Francisco.

This year marks the first of Dell’s title sponsorship, Cadillac was title sponsor last year and Accenture was the main sponsor from 2001-2014.

The field

The field is made up of 64 players and they’ll be placed into 16 groups of four.

The 64 players are chosen from the top 64 in the Official World Golf Rankings on 20th March.

Only two of the top 64 players in the world miss out – Henrik Stenson (personal reasons) and Jim Furyk (wrist injury) will not play in Austin with number 65 Patton Kizzire and 66 Thorbjørn Olesen stepping in.

The format

All players are seeded based on their world ranking and seeds 1-16 will be the top seeds in their respective groups.

The rest of the field will be randomly assigned to their groups following a draw that takes place live on the Golf Channel on the Monday evening of the tournament week.

Each player will play three round-robin-style matches and the winner of each group progresses into the last-16.

The group matches take place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

All 64 players will be out on the course so there will be 32 games each day.

Players receive 1 point for victory, 0 for defeat and ½ point for a draw – matches all-square after 18 do not go to extra holes – this is different from last year where all halved games went to sudden death.

The last-16 begins on Saturday morning with the quarter-finals taking place in the afternoon.

Sunday sees the semi-finals played in the morning before the final.

The purse is $9,500,000 and the winner will receive $1,620,000.

TV Coverage begins at 18.00 on Wednesday on Sky Sports 4.