Do the World Golf Championships capture people’s attention?

The Scoop

Are you a fan of the WGC events? Alex Perry and Mark Townsend lock horns in the latest edition of Alternate Shot

Yes, says Alex Perry

The World Golf Championships attract the best fields outside a major. And that is good enough for me.

If I’m staying up until the small hours – or, in the case of the HSBC Champions, climbing out of bed at silly-o’clock in the morning – to watch golf then I want to see the world’s finest going shot for shot down the stretch.

Who can forget Tiger winning in the dark? Or Victor Dubuisson bursting onto the scene in the Match Play? And Justin Rose’s stunning comeback victory over Dustin Johnson will live long in the memory.

Just take a look at the roll call of winners. One or two aside, as is always the case, these are big tournaments won by big tournament players.

The Match Play tends to be the one most people get excited about. It provides something a bit different and is usually pretty good fun, while the first WGC of the year falls right in that part of the calendar where everyone is starting to get mega-excited as the Masters looms.

There is one thing I would change, though. I would like to see them moved around the world – the clue is kind of in the name, after all – but sadly taking it outside the US sacrifices the depth in the field. And having a WGC in October feels a bit odd.

But without the WGCs we basically have 45-odd weeks of the year of regular Tour events. And no one wants that.

No, says Mark Townsend

Name the four WGCs. That’s right there’s the Match Play. Then there’s the one we’ve just had with the silly publicity stunt at the start of the week in China. Is Bridgestone one or is that part of the FedEx?

So that leaves… the other one. No? It’s the WGC-Mexico Championship. Remember? Tommy Fleetwood nearly getting floored by his caddie and DJ winning on that funky course in Mexico.

The WGCs are official money events on the European, PGA and Japan Golf Tours but, despite having been around since 1999, you might easily argue that they haven’t really caught on. We all know that Tiger has been cleaning up since day one, he won four of the first seven and has 18 wins in total, but then where are our reference points?

Once upon a time the World Cup was a WGC and so we had a point of difference. Then we are left scrabbling around our brains trying to recall what was going on at Doral a decade ago and wondering why on earth, given that the WGCs are officially sanctioned by the Asian, Sunshine and Australasian Tours, we’re not moving them around the world.

Historically the best thing about the WGCs was day one, day two at a push, of the Match Play when it was a straight knockout. These days, with their 16 (SIXTEEN!) mini groups they have even managed to mess that up.

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