Why Is the WGC Match Play Being Canceled?
When the final putt drops on Sunday at Austin Country Club, the World Golf Championships era will come to an end as this year marks the final edition of the WGC-Match Play.
First played in 1999, the WGC Match Play is the only event of its kind on the PGA Tour schedule and has been the only WGC event played in each of the last two years. The WGC Championship and the WGC Invitational were last played in 2021, and the WGC Champions event hasn’t been played since 2019.
And while that last one hasn’t officially been canceled forever, there’s been no indication that it will take place anytime soon, especially with the ongoing COVID-19 issues in China.
This is certainly an unfortunate situation as the WGC Match Play is the only event of its kind on the PGA Tour calendar. And while stroke-play events are obviously great, it’s good to have something different from time to time. I mean, outside of the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, this is the only tournament where the top golfers in the world go one-on-one.
So why exactly is the WGC Match Play being canceled?
Why is the WGC Match Play being canceled?
The biggest factor in the WGC Match Play being canceled is that the PGA Tour and Austin Country Club, which has been the event’s permanent home since 2016, couldn’t reach an agreement on a contract extension beyond this season.
In early February, Golfweek reported that the PGA Tour had sent Austin Country Club a new proposal more than four months earlier, one that the club rejected as it wanted “an exorbitant increase to its site fee and ticket demands for its members.”
The PGA Tour apparently went with a “thanks, but no thanks” approach, and the two sides didn’t speak again for months. It was then reported that the club attempted to revive the talks and sent a proposal essentially agreeing to the initial terms, a proposal that would have extended the WGC Match Play for two years. But it was said that meeting didn’t go well.
There were also reports of sponsorship issues. Intel, which Dell wanted as a partner, was ready to serve as the presenting sponsor and was allegedly ready to sign a multiyear contract worth between $5 million and $8 million per year. But the PGA Tour wouldn’t commit to more than a year, and that was that.
In March, just ahead of The Players Championship and not long before the new “designated” events on the 2024 PGA Tour schedule were revealed, the official announcement was made that the WGC Match Play would indeed be played for the final time in 2023. Perhaps another match-play event will be added to the schedule somewhere down the road, but for now, golf fans will have to settle for the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup.