Match Play Making Due with Lesser Names

By Golf Channel NewsroomSeptember 13, 2005, 4:00 pm
HSBC World Mach Play ChampionshipsThere was a time when the HSBC World Match Play Championship was considered a major-league event. It was contested by major-caliber players and won by major champions.
The list of past winners at the World Match Play is unsurpassed by any non-major event around the world.
Retief Goosen
Retief Goosen has two worldwide victories in as many weeks.
This tournament has been contested 41 times, and 37 of those winners also have a major to their resume. And the four who dont ' Graham Marsh, Isao Aoki, Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood ' have combined for nearly 200 worldwide wins
Now, with the expansion of global golf, most of the games top players have lost interest in this one-on-one competition, and this specialty event has lost its niche.
This years field does not feature a Tiger Woods or a Vijay Singh or a Phil Mickelson. Instead it has a David Howell and a Geoff Ogilvy and a Kenneth Ferrie.
Only five players in the 16-man field have won a major championship.
Players are invited to compete in this tournament, which is contested at Wentworth Club in Surrey, England, based on their finishes in the four majors, four designated European tournaments and the European Order of Merit rankings.
And many have declined. No Americans are in the field, and neither is three-time defending champion Ernie Els.
Els, who has won this tournament a record six times (1994-96, 2002-04), is still recovering from knee surgery, leaving Montgomerie as the only past champion in attendance.
The event starts Thursday and will be carried by The Golf Channel (coverage begins at 9:15 a.m. ET). All matches are 36 holes.
To the dismay of some, it is an official event on the European Tour, which means it will count towards the money list, Ryder Cup and world ranking.
Eight Europeans are in the field: Englishmen David Howell, Luke Donald and Ferrie; Irishman Paul McGinley; Scotlands Montgomerie; Dane Thomas Bjorn; Germanys Bernhard Langer; and Spains Jose Maria Olazabal.
Completing the field are Australians Steve Elkington, Mark Hensby and Geoff Ogilvy; South Africans Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman and Tim Clark; reigning U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell of New Zealand and Argentina's Angel Cabrera.
The draw for the first round, based on world rankings, is: Goosen vs. Ferrie; Montgomerie vs. Hensby; Campbell vs. Elkington; Clark vs. Ogilvy; Donald vs. Langer; Bjorn vs. Olazabal; Howell vs. McGinley and Cabrera vs. Immelman.
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