All World Golf Championships assemble elite fields, but which makes for the best tournament?
The first World Golf Championships first came on to the scene in 1999. The goal was to create more tournaments that brought together the best players from various worldwide tours, with its fields rivaling the major championships.
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The Dell Match Play (originally the Anderson Consulting Match Play Championship), the Bridgestone Invitational and the Mexico Championship (originally the American Express Championship) were the original trinity.
The HSBC Champions in China was not added until 2009.
What are some characteristics that define each of the WGCs?
- No cuts In the 2016-17 season, all players in these fields pocket $30,000-plus just for putting the peg in the ground. Free money is a fantastic carrot for a tournament organizer to dangle in front of players, and few pass it up. It’s as close as a PGA Tour-sanctioned event will get to having appearance fees. This scenario can also be great to ensure fans they’ll see most, if not all, of the elite players. Some, though, are turned off that a player teeing off on Sunday two dozen strokes off the lead is guaranteed to make more money that week than they will in months.
- Not exactly “World” Golf Championships WGC events certainly do as good a job as any in assembling a worldwide field. So well, even, that there are always a few players who qualify from the Asian Tour or Sunshine Tour, for example, who are relative unknowns. As far as host sites go, they’ve historically centered in the US. The Match Play has been in the US in all but one year and the Bridgestone has been at Firestone in Ohio since the beginning. From 2007-09 all three WGCs were in the US and three of four from ’09 to 2016 after the addition of the HSBC Championship in China. In 2016-17, two of four are away from the US.
After discussing their similarities, let’s see each’s pros and cons to determine which is the best of these four flawed, but intriguing World Golf Championship events. Because there’s nuance to everything, a characteristic of a tournament can be both a pro, a con or somewhere in the middle based on how you look at it.