Golf needs more match play, and other takeaways from the WGC this weekend
126 holes later, the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play has wrapped up with Kevin Kisner taking home the title. Last year’s runner up, Kisner hit pretty much every putt he needed to all week on his way to victory. His semi-final against Molinari was exactly why we need more match play events on the golf calendar, with only 7 of the holes being halved.
Unlike on tour, match play is what amateur golfers identify with most - weekend games among friends always have some kind of match involved. Having a couple more match play events could increase viewership from the casuals and exposes fans to players they normally wouldn’t see. Fans got to see someone like Lucas Bjerregaard, whose top 5 would not normally get much airtime on the broadcast in a stroke play event, stripe the ball around Austin Country Club and upset the GOAT. That would both grow the game and increase player popularity, something the tour struggles with outside of the main tournaments and superstars. The Tour introduced a team event at the Zurich, and they should experiment with match play too.
Spieth looked better in the group stage this week. He battled back for a half against Billy Horschel and handled Kevin Na pretty well. We all know about his early career performances at Augusta, and hopefully he is starting to peak at the right time. Golf is better with Spieth in contention, I hope to hear some conversions with Greller late on Sunday at The Masters.
Another good week for Big Cat. Normally you’d see him make that putt on 18 to force a playoff in the quarterfinals, but it’s all about Augusta at this point. Playing another 36 holes might not have been the best for his health - as much as we all wanted to see it. With how well he is playing, it’s hard for me to see a world where Tiger isn’t in the mix late on Sunday at the majors this year, he’s got a great chance to add more to his collection.
Lastly, NBC is abusing the “play through” commercials. They’re still commercials. I know with match play there isn’t as much non-stop action as stroke play, but there was enough golf on Wed/Thurs/Fri to keep the action going. There was a point on Saturday where they went commercial - 4 swings - commercial. That’s ridiculous and it’s preventing them from increasing viewership. No casual fan wants to tune into a broadcast with that many interruptions. The NFL fixed their commercial problem a couple years ago and it’s made the product more enjoyable. It’s time for the PGA to follow suit. I could do an entire blog on the quality of the PGA Tour broadcasts, but we’ll leave it at that.
Thanks for reading.