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why is the wgc match play ending

We all love match play events, but do they work on tour?

We sadly won’t see an individual match play event on tour in 2024, but NCG’s Matt Chivers discusses whether this is actually a bad thing…

 

There will be a significant absence on the PGA Tour in 2024.

The WGC Match Play was a staple of the calendar that represented a welcome break from the regularity of stroke play.

But the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play executive director Jordan Uppleger announced in March that it won’t return next year.

Many golf fans, and match play fans, were stung with disappointment as arguably golf’s most compelling format was wiped from the top of the game.

The event started in 1999 as part of the inception of the World Golf Championships, which are now extinct following the match play’s demise.

This doesn’t mean it won’t return, but if you consider the nature of the event, should it return?

why is the wgc match play ending

Also: World Rankings body announces system shake-up

Should we have a match play event on tour?

Match play events are great fun to watch. They pit the World No.64 against the World No.1 and you can’t predict who will win.

Straight knockout is a huge success in other sports with the latter stages of the FIFA World Cup firstly coming to mind.

The group stages are full of jeopardy too with no team immune to an upset as we see every four years.

Unfortunately, golf is not the same and the match play could be a tiresome week for both the players and viewers.

When it was just a knockout format before 2015, players would head to the likes of Dove Mountain and La Costa to potentially play one game of golf.

Are you coming or going? Do we need accommodation for the entire week or just a day?

The introduction of the group stages guaranteed three matches for each player, making the commitment somewhat more tolerable.

The opening days of the event were certainly fun for viewers, as there were players all over the course, with putts dropping and results coming in from every angle.

However with a Wednesday start and a Sunday finish, if you go all the way, the fatigue will no doubt build as a competitor.

From 2016, the event was staged at Austin Country Club at the end of March and in close quarters to the Masters.

Surely a gruelling week is the last thing you want ahead of the first major of the year?

As the week of the match play grew on, its limitations as a viewer became more obvious too. More and more matches left the golf course, so there was less and less action.

By the semi-finals, you’d be watching four players on the golf course, and again on finals day with the meaningless 3rd-place wooden spoon showdown going out beforehand.

The business end of the tournament could become quite a dull viewing experience.

Some golf fans watching on television already have plenty to say about the amount of adverts shown during the action.

This is never more stark when there are four balls on the golf course and more time than ever that can’t just be filled by analysis on commentary.

But then what is the solution? I, for one, want the match play back which could conceivably happen in the future.

A pairs format perhaps? A four-day league?

You might believe there’s no fix required and the event should live on, but from where I’m standing, there are wide holes to plug if a match play is to return and thrive.

NOW READ: Was that this year? The most controversial rules debates of 2023

Why is the WGC Match Play ending? Give us your view on Twitter/X!

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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