Except for the flags, the Match Play has the same number of countries as the original World Golf Championships.
Paraguay, the Philippines and Zimbabwe were among the 17 participating countries in the Match Play 1999. We now have Chile, Norway, Colombia, and Belgium.
A Shark is still present in the waters 23 years later, but in a different capacity.
Greg Norman, one the 64 La Costa players in 1999, asked the question “How much do you feel vindication?” More than just the No. He was the No. 28 seed that week and was thought to be the brainchild for a global series, which aims to bring together the best of the world.
It was a fair question, and it can be played forward at Austin Country Club where the top 64 players from the world ranking will gather this week.
Norman would have made them come to America.
Norman was the one who first proposed the World Golf Tour five years ago. It would have a series eight tournaments for the top 30 players plus 10 exemptions, competing for more money than the PGA Tour.
The players were forced to make a choice. Norman wasn’t as committed to the top players as he thought. Then Arnold Palmer reacted to the idea and said that the PGA Tour had been a good fit for him and Jack Nicklaus. The last part of the story is a bit different.
The International Federation of PGA Tours was established two years after Norman’s original plans were abandoned. From this came the World Golf Championships.
Norman was the last player to arrive in La Costa in 1999. As he walked through the media center, Norman stopped to look at the brackets for this inaugural Match Play Championship.
He said, “I’m just glad that I was able to make it on the field.” Norman appeared content that at least one goal had been achieved, even though there was some sense of vindication.
Norman stated in 1999 that “At the end, I believe it is good for golf.” It is important for golf, because we have enough great players on a global level that we need more players playing against one another on a regular basis.
It was then.
Norman remains part of the picture. He is as ambitious and determined as ever. Number 1 in the world.
The Public Investment Fund is his backer, providing an almost endless supply of Saudi cash. He hopes to attract top players and run a global tour in the way he believes it should.
This would indicate that something is not right with the PGA Tour, at a time when it would seem like the sport has momentum.
Another increase in prize money has been achieved by the media rights agreement that was signed this year. The top 20 players on the planet are from all six continents that golf is played. Rory McIlroy is 32 years old and the oldest player in the top 10. They also compete against each other every day.
It is interesting to look back at these World Golf Championships and see what golf was like in the past.
The 64-man field at La Costa featured 14 players who weren’t PGA Tour members. This group included Jose Maria Olazabal and Shigeki Maruyama, as well as Eduardo Romero. All of them reached the quarterfinals.
Only five players aren’t PGA Tour members this year — Takumi Kanaya Richard Bland Thomas Pieters Min Woo Lee, Robert MacIntyre, and Thomas Pieters Many of them would love to be.
The PGA Tour has evolved from being the most popular tour to becoming the destination of choice for players from all over the world. Norman deserves credit for helping it grow, but the rapid growth of the PGA Tour is not possible without Tiger Woods.
Even if Match Play is the last WGC on the schedule, that will depend on whether the PGA Tour wishes to return to China amid the outrage about countries with terrible records on human rights. The best players play together because they are all on the same tour.
The landscape has changed. Norman’s motivations have changed as well.
It is hard to believe Norman has set out to increase the opportunities for top players to compete with each other, but they do.
He published an eight-tournament program last week. He stated that he wants golf to grow and for players to have more opportunities. He stated that he believes players will make more progress towards achieving their right of playing where they like.
It is not about improving the game. It’s not about competing against the best. It’s not about playing against the best. The top 10 players have stated that they will stick with the PGA Tour as it offers the best competition at the moment.
This isn’t about team golf being more attractive. The Ryder Cup is a team golf tournament that’s extremely popular. It’s only played twice a year and there is no prize money.
This tournament is all about money. You can earn more by doing less. The winner of Norman’s new tournaments will receive $4 million. This is nearly twice the amount of someone who wins seven matches in Austin against the best players in golf.