No room for Match Play on 2015 spring schedule
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida (AP) — The Match Play Championship will not be in its traditional spot in February for the first time since it began in 1999.
The future of the World Golf Championship remains muddled after Accenture decided this year not to renew its title sponsorship. U.S. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in February he hoped to have a clear direction within a month or so.
“This has been taking longer than we thought,” Finchem said at The Players Championship. “We probably won’t have anything to say for at least a few weeks.”
But an announcement out of Texas on Tuesday made one thing clear. There was no room on the schedule for the Match Play Championship between the start of the year and The Players Championship.
The Texas Open announced it would be played next year on March 26-29, two weeks before the Masters. That means every day on the tour calendar is taken from the Tournament of Champions (Jan. 9-12) to The Players (May 7-10).
The Match Play traditionally wraps up the West Coast Swing at the end of February, except for in 2001 when it was played in Australia in early January. The Honda Classic, the start of the Florida Swing, will be held next year on Feb. 26 to March 1.
Finchem did not rule out a return to Tucson, Arizona, which has an experienced host organization and was a strong golf market. That will depend on a title sponsor.
The tour has a hole in its 2015 schedule before the end of the major championship season, with an open week after The Players and before the Byron Nelson in Dallas on May 21-24.
Finchem said in February that the tour was looking at a makeover for the Match Play because even the best players — Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, for example — are not guaranteed being around for more than one day in the current format of single elimination. Woods, Mickelson and Adam Scott did not play this year.