WGC Match Play Championship Winners and History

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NOTE: The WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship now is the WGC Dell Match Play Championship. Updated article at the link.

One of the annual World Golf Championship events, the WGC Match Play Championship is a single elimination match play event with a field of 64. The field is taken from the top available 64 players on the World Golf Rankings.

The WGC Match Play Championship is the successor event of the Anderson Consulting World Championship of Golf, a 32 player, unofficial event played from 1995 to 1998. In 1999, the event became part of the World Golf Championship series, hosted by La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California. It was held at that resort from 1999 to 2006, with a one year side trip to the Metropolitcan Golf Club in Victoria, Australia. That turned out to be unpopular, and it has not again left the United States. The WGC Match Play Championship was been held at the Gallery Golf Club in Marana, Arizona in 2007 and 2008. In 2009, it moved to the Ritz Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain, Arizona.

The prize of $8.5 million is official on the PGA Tour, the European Tour and the Japan Golf Tour. In addition to the $1.4 million winner’s share, the last man standing also takes the Walter Hagen Cup. The name is appropriate, as Hagen is widely considered to be the finest match player ever.

All matches leading up to the final match are 18 holes, while the final match was played over 36 holes from 1999 to 2010 and over 18 holes since 2011. In addition, the losers of the semifinal matches play an 18-hole consolation match for third place. The five-day, six-match tournament begins on Wednesday, with a match per day through Friday. The quarterfinals and semifinals are played on Saturday; the finals and third-place match conclude the tournament on Sunday.

Prior to the unofficial Anderson event, the PGA Tour held the Seiko Tuscon Match Play Championship from 1984 to 1986. Jim Thorpe twice won that event. The PGA Championship was match play from its inception in 1916 to 1958. The US and British Amateur Championships also are match play events, although the US Amateur experimented with medal play from 1965 to 1972. Resistance to match play surely comes from the television networks, who cannot be thrilled at the possibility of having the marquee stars ousted on day one, with four more days to come. The solution—not yet used—would be to use a double elimination format.

Participants in the Anderson event were chosen from the top eight players available from four different regions, the United States, Europe, Japan, and the “Rest of the World”. The positions were determined by the Sony Rankings. Each region played three rounds of match play to determine the regional winner to send to the finals. The regional tournaments were played at various times (February to August) throughout the year at different courses in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.

Most times won tournament – Tiger Woods (3 wins)
Largest Championship Match Victory (36 holes) – 8 & 7, Tiger Woods over Stewart Cink (2008)
Other lopsided match (18 holes) – 9 & 8, Tiger Woods over Stephen Ames (2006, 1st round)
Longest championship match – 38 holes, Jeff Maggert over Andrew Magee (1999)
Longest match (non-championship) – 26 holes, Scott Verplank over Lee Westwood (2006, 1st round), Mike Weir over Loren Roberts (2003, 1st round)

A list of past winners of the WGC Match Play Championship and the Anderson Consulting Match Play Championship follows:

WGA Accenture Match Play Championship Winners
YearPlayerCountryRunner-upScore1st Prize ($)Purse ($)
2015Rory McIlroyNorthern IrelandGary Woodland4&21,570,0009,250,000
2014Jason DayAustraliaVictor Dubuisson23 holes1,530,0009,000,000
2013Matt KucharUnited StatesHunter Mahan2&11,500,0008,750,000
2012Hunter MahanUnited StatesRory McIlroy2&11,400,0008,500,000
2011Luke DonaldEnglandMartin Kaymer3&21,350,0008,000,000
WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
2010Ian PoulterEnglandPaul Casey4 & 21,400,0008,500,000
2009Geoff OgilvyAustraliaPaul Casey4 & 31,400,0008,500,000
2008Tiger WoodsUnited StatesStewart Cink8 & 71,350,0008,000,000
2007Henrik StensonSwedenGeoff Ogilvy2 & 11,350,0008,000,000
2006Geoff OgilvyAustraliaDavis Love III3 & 21,300,0007,500,000
2005David TomsUnited StatesChris DiMarco6 & 51,300,0007,500,000
2004Tiger WoodsUnited StatesDavis Love III3 & 21,200,0007,000,000
2003Tiger WoodsUnited StatesDavid Toms2 & 11,050,0006,000,000
2002Kevin SutherlandUnited StatesScott McCarron1 up1,000,0005,500,000
2001Steve StrickerUnited StatesPierre Fulke2 & 11,000,0005,000,000
WGC-Andersen Consulting Match Play Championship
2000Darren ClarkeNorthern IrelandTiger Woods4 & 31,000,0005,000,000
1999Jeff MaggertUnited StatesAndrew Magee38 holes1,000,0005,000,000
Anderson Consulting Match Play Championship
YearWinnerCountryRunner-UpScoreThird PlaceFourth Place
1995Barry LaneEnglandDavid Frost2 upMark McCumberMasahiro Kuramoto
1996/7Greg NormanAustraliaScott Hoch1 upHisayuki SasakiSam Torrance
1997/8Colin MontgomerieScotlandDavis Love III2 upErnie ElsHajime Meshiai

1 thought on “WGC Match Play Championship Winners and History”

  1. Some big names in golf have recorded wins in this event.

    It’s surprising that Phil Mickelson hasn’t notched up a win here as yet. Although from what I understand Phil is not a big fan of match play.


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