Rest in peace, World Golf Championships.
golf week has just learned that this year will be the final year of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin. The 2024 schedule normally stipulates late March, the final event of the Florida Swing, but is expected to be filled by Cadence Bank’s Houston Open.
The Austin Country Club has been the host venue for match play since 2016, when Dell became the title sponsor. At the time, the World Golf Championship was considered golf’s highest-ranking tournament after the Players Championship, the flagship event of the four majors and the Tour.
Beginning in 1999, the WGC’s prize money was increased, the field was limited to mostly top-ranked players, and there were uncut events. (Tiger Woods has won his 18th WGC, and Dustin Johnson has won his second-most WGCs with his 5th.)
In 2021, the number of WGC events has been reduced by two as the WGC Mexico Open has been reduced to a regular PGA Tour event and the WGC-FedEx St. Jude has been changed to the first leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
The demise of WGC match play technically leaves the WGC-HSBC Champions as the final WGC standings, but the tournament, contested in China, has not been played since 2019 due to COVID-19. With no indication that the tournament will take place again this year, the LPGA has canceled a tournament scheduled for March in China’s Hainan Island due to “ongoing COVID-19-related issues.”
Matchplay, which was won by Scotty Schaeffler last spring to become World No. 1, is one of the Tour’s new designated events this season. His tournament record $20 million in prize money will be contested in March, which is the same amount as his 10 promotion tournaments and devalues the WGC’s brand value. (The fact that the majority of the event was staged in the United States also misnamed it.)
The PGA TOUR Player Advisory Council met last Tuesday at the Farmers Insurance Open to discuss the 2024 Tour schedule. PAC member Kevin Strielman confirmed that the future of match play is on the agenda.
“They talked a little bit about it,” Strielman said. “Hopefully they can save it. This is a sponsorship issue.”
“It’s pretty common knowledge,” he added, “but no decision has been made yet.
However, multiple sources tell golf week A decision was made, and a high-ranking executive who oversees the Tour’s championship management department told Austin staff to “start boxing things up.”
The tour sent a proposal to the Austin Country Club over four months ago, and the ACC pushed back strongly, countering the exorbitant increases in site fees and member ticket demand. The tour ran into trouble and there was no contact between the two for several months. The splitting of membership in quite a few camps which they thought events had run their course there did not solve the problem, with one source saying the ACC tried to regain its sanity and re-engage However, the tour was “radio silenced” for his four months. Two weeks ago, ACC sent an unsolicited offer to the Tour agreeing to the original terms of the Tour and extending the contract for an additional two years.
“I heard it didn’t work out,” said another event’s PGA Tour tournament director, who requested anonymity because of his ties to both parties. “They are out of there.”
Tool doesn’t often raise the stakes and leave the city unless the sponsor flees and doing so is a last resort. However, a source said the tour declined to offer him presenting Intel as his sponsor in August, which Dell wanted as a partner. The chipmaker was poised to sign on the dotted line for five years between $5 million and $8 million a year. You only commit for one year because you probably know you have to.
as previously reported golf weekHouston Astros billionaire owner Jim Crane has been playing hardball in hopes of returning the Houston stop to the main schedule, hopefully on a spring date. But the CJ Cup, which has been played in the United States since the pandemic and most recently in South Carolina in October, is also hoping to upgrade dates from its fall schedule. No, but the loss of match play could mean at least one less designated event in 2024, or alternatives to the schedule could be raised.
“The Tour will never stop playing match,” said the Tournament Director. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it resurfaces elsewhere.”
But for now, matchplay is down and the hole seems to be gone.