Report: Austin To Lose WGC-Match Play Casting Doubt Over Tournament's Future
Doubts emerge over future of WGC events with Austin reportedly set to lose the Match Play after this year
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Austin will reportedly stage the WGC-Match Play for the final time this year, casting doubt over the future of the event, according to Golfweek. (opens in new tab)
Austin Country Club has held the event since 2016 when Dell first sponsored it, but Golfweek is now reporting that this year's tournament will be the last at the Texas venue.
And with the usual late March date of the competition set to be taken up by the Houston Open in 2024, the talk is now whether the WGC-Match Play as an event will even exist after this year.
The World Golf Championships were the best of the rest in terms of prestige when they were introduced in 1999, behind only the Majors and Players Championship.
With limited fields and no cut, the World Golf Championships had a special feel to them, but the four had been cut in half in 2021 with the FedEx St Jude being absorbed into the FedEx Cup playoffs, while the WGC-Mexico was reduced to a regular PGA Tour event.
The WGC HSBC Champions hasn't been staged in China since 2019 due to Covid and there has been no talk of when that could return.
The Match Play was on the agenda at the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council meeting at the Farmers Insurance Open last week, with Kevin Streelman confirming as much.
“They talked about that a little bit,” Streelman said. “Hopefully they can save it. It’s a sponsorship issue.
“It’s pretty common knowledge. There definitely hasn’t been any decision yet.”
Complicated issues surrounding sponsors, Austin Country Club and the PGA Tour all cloud the matter, but it is thought that the Tour don't want to lose the Match Play as an event.
It's an elevated event with a record $20 million prize fund this year, but with it being just one of 10 it does seem that the WGC aspect may well be over, as it has no real value on the new PGA Tour.
As they battle with LIV Golf, an event that's not just a usual 72-hole strokeplay event should be something the PGA Tour want to keep hold of, to keep that variety in the schedule.
It just won't be in Austin and does not look likely to have the WGC moniker attached to it if and when it returns in 2024.
Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website. Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.
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