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Report: PGA Tour ending WGC-Match Play at Austin C.C.

February 02, 2023
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Scottie Scheffler shakes hands with Kevin Kisner of the United States on the 15th green after defeating him in the finals of the 2022 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Gregory Shamus

PEBBLE BEACH — The WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play returns to Austin Country Club next month. If and where the tournament will be contested next year is a different matter.

On Thursday, Golfweek reported that 2023 will be the final year of the event in its current iteration as it seeks a new site and sponsor. Two sources familiar with the situation confirmed the news to Golf Digest.

A PGA Tour spokesperson told Golf Digest, "As we navigate the many moving parts related to the structural changes to the 2024 PGA Tour schedule, discussions are ongoing in regards to the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play beyond this year. We remain focused on putting on an incredibly successful 2023 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play event for our fans and we expect to announce details about the future of the event when they are available."

The WGC-Match Play began in 1999 and was held at California’s La Costa Country Club for seven of its first eight years before an eight-year run in Tucson. It took a trip to TPC Harding Park in San Francisco in 2015 before moving to Austin C.C. in 2016, with Dell taking over as the primary sponsor. In 2019, Dell signed a four-year extension to continue its stewardship.

However, Golfweek reports that Austin C.C. asked for for more money to host the event, a move that did not go over well at tour headquarters. Multiple sources familiar with the situation confirmed to Golf Digest the request from the club for the price increase was made and has become a sticking point. Those sources also pointed to the continued overall flux in creating the 2024 schedule, which will include the tour’s new $20 million “designated” events created in response to the emergence of LIV Golf, as a reason for leaving Austin.

Sources tell Golf Digest the tour remains hopeful that it will continue to hold a match-play tournament and is already in talks with numerous sites and sponsors, including existing tour spots.

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Austin Country Club has hosted the WGC-Dell Match Play since 2016.

Ben Jared

One upshot of the tour’s decision to leave Austin C.C. is the potential change of dates for the revived Houston Open. Jim Crane, a businessman and owner of the Houston Astros who operates the tour stop, has been vocal in wanting his event moved from the fall, where it’s been played since 2019, to the spring. According to multiple sources familiar with the matter, Crane has expressed a possible partnership with LIV Golf should his wishes not be met. The open spot on the PGA Tour spring calender created by the move out of Austin could go to Houston. It is unclear if a spring move would in turn result in Houston becoming a “designated” event or a possible match-play host.

The tour’s exit from Austin is expected to mark the end of the World Golf Championships series. Created in 1999, the WGCs were four events sanctioned by the International Federation of PGA Tours in hopes of gathering the sport’s best outside the four major championships. The WGCs were official money events on the PGA and European Tours, and were sanctioned by the Asian Tour, Japan Golf Tour, Sunshine Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia. The events had limited fields were often played without a cut, and all featured among the largest purses in the game. Eighteen of Tiger Woods' 82 PGA Tour wins came at WGC events, with Dustin Johnson winning six WGC events in his tour career.

But the WGC-Invitational and WGC-Championship were removed from the PGA Tour schedule last year, and the WGC-HSBC Champions—played in Shanghai, China—has not been held since 2019 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Moreover, with the introduction of the PGA Tour’s designated events, the WGCs have essentially been replaced.

This year’s Match Play begins March 22. The first three days will feature round-robin pool play before moving to single elimination matches for the final 16 players. Scottie Scheffler is the defending champ.