By Jay Betsill
The World Golf Championships-Match Play, which will take place at Harding Park in San Francisco (with Cadillac filling in as title sponsor) for the first time this spring, will move again in 2016 — when the PGA Tour plans to hold the tournament in Austin, TX, according to the Associated Press.
People who were familiar with the negotiations also told the Associated Press that Texas-based Dell will be the title sponsor of the World Golf Championship event that features the top 64 players from the world ranking. The Match Play would be held next year on March 23-27, the week after the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill and the week before the Shell Houston Open. The Masters is April 7-10 in 2016.
This year’s edition of Match Play, set for April 29-May 3, will be the third PGA Tour event at Harding Park since the course’s renovation in 2002-03. Tiger Woods topped John Daly in a two-hole playoff in the American Express Championship in 2005, and the U.S. won the Presidents Cup in 2009. Harding Park is also slated to host the PGA Championship in 2020.
The Match Play is set be contested at Austin Country Club, though that still requires a vote of the membership, according to the Associated Press. This would be the sixth different golf course for the Match Play Championship since the WGC series began in 1999. The tournament was held at La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, CA through 2006, with one year at Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne. It moved to two courses at Dove Mountain at the Ritz-Carlton in Tuscon until last year.
This year’s Match Play also introduces the new format where the 64-player field will be divided into 16 four-player groups with each group playing round-robin matches within their group on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The player with the best record in each of the four player groups advances to the Round of 16 for single-elimination match play (in the event of a two-way tie in a group, head-to-head match results will be used as the tiebreaker; a three-way tie will require a sudden-death stroke play hole by hole playoff). The Round of 16 will be played Saturday morning, followed by the Quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon. The Semifinals will be Sunday morning, followed by the Championship Match and Consolation Match on Sunday afternoon.
This year’s Match Play is being held this year from April 29 to May 3rd.