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Match Play Madness

As we head into our first WGC event of 2008 Im going to ask you a simple question, and Ill look forward to your responses: Is the WGC concept working?
The series of three tournaments is 10 years old now and according to its slogan is celebrating 10 years of global competition. Global? Alright, in the past the tournaments have gone global, visiting Australia, Ireland, Spain and England in addition to the United States, but now all three are played on U.S. soil. The events come under the banner of the International Federation of Tours, of which the Asian, Australasian, Sunshine and European tours are all part.
Why arent we working towards building relationships with sponsors to move these existing events around the globe? As a golf fan Im disappointed.
I am also disappointed in the fact that only one of these events has a truly unique identity. Although it was derived from the fledgling Anderson Consulting Matchplay, I believe the WGC-Accenture Match Play is the only WGC that stands out on its own. The WGC-CA Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational were existing events (Doral and the NEC World Series of Golf).
Both were solid events in themselves; they didnt need WGC attached to their titles. In fact, I think both have lost some of their identity because of that addition. You could argue that having the WGC solidifies their place on the schedule, but whats the point of creating this global series when a) you dont play globally and b) two-thirds of your events are old events re-hashed. I shall await your thoughts?
In the past couple of years weve seen: Angel Cabrera (Argentina) winning the U.S. Open; Lorena Ochoa (Mexico) becoming worlds No. 1 and Player of the Year on the LPGA Tour; Julieta Granada (Paraguay) winning the ADT; Anders Romero (Argentina) winning in Europe and almost winning the Open Championship; Alex Rocha (Brazil) co-medalist at the European Q-School; Ariel Canate (Argentina) winning in Joberg; and now Felipe Aguilar (Chile) taking his maiden title last week on the European Tour.
Weve become accustomed to Argentinean winners on the European Tour; the country has long been regarded as the South American golf leader. Now were seeing players from other nations competing at the highest level. One of the reasons stems from the Federations in those countries providing both logistical and financial support to their amateurs.
Also, I think commerce in South America is cottoning onto the marketability of the game, hence the Banamex on Lorena Ochoas hat and Aguilars Telefonica Del Sur taking pride of place on shirt and head-wear. The Nationwide Tour and Challenge Tours now travel into South and Central America giving players a chance to get a foot hold on the main tour; it probably wont be long before the Duramed FUTURES Tour goes down there and possibly the LET.
The LPGA Tour already makes a couple of visits to Mexico, the PGA TOUR also travels there and has added Puerto Rico to the mix. It can only be good for the game, and further these players' support for their home countries. Ochoa still doesnt have a U.S. residence, and Cabrera played in his home open this year, which was co-sanctioned with the Challenge Tour.
Email your thoughts to Tom Abbott
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
  • Full Coverage - Indian Masters