The 2023 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play may be the last version of the event. The lone World Golf Championship and match-play event on the PGA Tour schedule will not only be moving on from Austin Country Club, it will also need to find a new home on the playing calendar, according to Golfweek,
Historically taking place immediately following the Florida swing in late March, the WGC Match Play will be replaced on the PGA Tour calendar by the Houston Open in 2024.
WGC events have slowly dwindled in numbers in recent years since being introduced in 1999. Both the WGC-Mexico Open and the WGC-FedEx St. Jude dropped the designation in 2021. Combined with ongoing COVID-19 issues in China making the WGC-HSBC Champions unplayable since 2019, WGC Match Play stood as the final event of its kind on this year’s schedule.
“They talked about [the 2024 PGA Tour schedule] a little bit,” Kevin Streelman told Golfweek of last week’s PAC meeting at Torrey Pines. “Hopefully they can save [WGC Match Play]. It’s a sponsorship issue. It’s pretty common knowledge. There definitely hasn’t been any decision yet.”
With recent moves by the PGA Tour to increases purses with elevated events and cater to top-tier players competing against each other on a regular basis, the death of the WGC appears inevitable. Rolling out a new playing calendar in 2023, those who finished inside the top 20 in the Player Impact Program are now required to play in 13 designated events, four major championships and three additional tournaments of their choosing.
While the WGC Match Play is labeled as one of those designated events, outside of the format, there is no discernible difference between it and another tournament like the Phoenix Open or Travelers Championship, which both feature elevated prize funds. As for the potential for a different match play event down the line, don’t expect the PGA Tour to abandon the idea completely.
“The Tour is not going to go away from doing a match play,” a tournament director said. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see it resurface elsewhere.”