Match Play Gets Official Status on European Tour


SURREY, England -- The European Tour announced on Thursday that the 2004 HSBC World Match Play Championship will be an official event on the tour's schedule.
The European Tour and IMG, the tournament promoters, reached an agreement to make the tournament an official stop. Prize money earned will count towards the Order of Merit and the event will be worth Official World Golf Ranking points.

'We are pleased to have reached agreement with IMG over the official sanctioning of the Championship, with the prize money counting towards the Volvo Order of Merit and points available for the Official World Golf Ranking,' said Ken Schofield, the executive director of the European Tour.
The field for the tournament, scheduled for October 14-17 at the West Course at Wentworth Club, was extended from 12 to 16. There will be eight first-round matches involving all players and each match will be decided over 36 holes.
The new criteria for the expanded field includes: the defending champion, the No. 1 player in the World Golf Rankings, the top-10 available players, not otherwise qualified, from the HSBC major championships ranking as at the conclusion of the 2004 PGA Championship, the leading two available European Tour members, not otherwise qualified, accumulating the most Official World Golf Ranking Points from the following four European Tour tournaments: Volvo PGA Championship, European Open, European Masters and the Heritage Tournament, and the leading two available European Tour members from the Order of Merit, not otherwise qualified, as of September 27, 2004.
Ernie Els is the defending champion.