There’s been a lot of hand-wringing about the future of the WGC Match Play Championship. Accenture is out after this year, and there’s some concern that that match play carries too much baggage for another sponsor. Players supposedly don’t like to pop in for a one-and-done, and television hates the probability that the biggest names won’t be playing on Sunday. That’s the nature of the current match play format.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Back in 2005, Jim Diederich, Professor of Mathematics University of California, Davis, came up with a solution that ensures half the field makes it to the third round. Even better: it would increase the field from 64 to 81.
Diederich proposed a three tier-triple elimination system. In the “Wild Card Match Play System,” a player would have to lose matches to three other golfers to be eliminated.
I think that the PGA TOUR should seriously consider Diederich’s plan—or put their own mathematicians on the job. One other possibility I can see is to start with a nine-hole round robin series, finishing with 18 holes matches on the weekend.
What I absolutely don’t want to see is the tournament opening with 36 holes of stroke play, followed by an abbreviated match play event between the survivors.