Young talent impresses R-Mac
McIlroy one of several young players teeing it up in Arizona
Last Updated: 22/02/11 10:52am
McIlroy: New breed
Rory McIlroy believes the game is in good hands as he prepares for this week's WGC-Accenture Match Play in Arizona.
"It's pretty incredible, really. There's so many young guys coming through."
Rory McIlroy Quotes of the week
The Northern Irishman will be amongst the leading contenders in the 64-man event but despite being just 21 will not be the youngest player on show.
That mantle rests with 17-year-old Italian Matteo Mannassero, just another example of the talented crop of young players starting to make their mark on the global game.
And McIlroy says exciting times lie ahead for the sport.
"Yeah, I played Matteo this morning and it's hard to believe he's in this tournament as a 17-year-old," said McIlroy.
"It's pretty incredible, really. There's so many young guys coming through, even the younger guys like Noh Seung-yul from Korea and you've got Ryo Ishikawa, Rickie Fowler, Matteo Manassero and myself, all guys that are 21 and younger.
"So, yeah, I think it's great. It's great for the game of golf, it makes it a little more exciting.
"And add to that group the likes of Dustin Johnson, I think him, the guys that are in their mid-20s, it's exciting times for golf."
McIlroy will be favourite to beat American Jonathan Byrd in his opening match, but the European Ryder Cup winner has been impressed by his form in recent months, when he has won twice on the PGA Tour.
"I think he's won two tournaments in his last 10 starts, so he's obviously playing pretty good," continued McIlroy.
"I watched a bit of golf in Hawaii, at the start of the year and he played very well.
"Obviously he has had a good run, but you're never going to get easy matches this week.
"I'm sure he'll be a really tough opponent. And I'll have to play my best or somewhere near my best to try to beat him."