Disappearing Matchplay… ‘The last trophy’ Burns holds

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The beauty of match play is ‘extraordinary’. Match play is different from the stroke method, in which you only need to focus on your game. The result of playing all 18 holes does not decide the winner. Each hole is won or lost. You must always do better than your opponent. Even if you make a birdie, if your opponent eagles, you lose the hole. Once you lose the initiative, you can’t let go of the string of tension for a moment because the opportunity to recover doesn’t come back often. ‘Dark horse’ often appears because not only skills but also mental strength and psychological warfare are in play.

Match play, dubbed the “abnormal factory,” will no longer be available on the PGA tour from next year. This is because WGC Dell Technologies Match Play (total prize money of 20 million dollars), the only match play competition on the tour, will disappear into history with the final on the 27th (Korean time). Sam Burns (27, USA), who lifted the championship cup that day, remained as the last match king.

On the last day of the tournament held at Austin CC (par 71, 7108 yards) in Austin, Texas, USA, Burns showed the charm of match play in two rounds. Burns, ranked 15th in the world, met world number 1 and defending champion Scotty Scheffler (27, USA) in the semifinals. These two are famous on the PGA Tour as best friends. When they go on tour, they share the same accommodation and often have meetings with the couple.

However, in front of the single wooden bridge, where only the winner survives, he said, “We are friends, but there is no concession in the game.” In fact, they met in the semi-finals and fought a bloody battle. The game continued into the third overtime period. After taking and losing the lead, Schaeffler caught a birdie in the 18th hole (par 4) and returned the game to the starting point and entered an extension. By catching a birdie in the third game of overtime, Burns broke Scheffler’s pursuit and secured a ticket to the final.

The finals ended abruptly. In the semifinals, Burns played an overwhelming game against Cameron Young (26, USA), who had defeated Rory McIlroy메이저놀이터(34, Northern Ireland), who was ranked second in the world, in the semifinals. He gave up one hole in the beginning, but from the 4th hole (par 3), he pushed Young with a line birdie. In the end, he won by 6 holes with 5 holes left. As the match was decided too early, a rare scene was created in which the winners’ award ceremony was held on the 18th hole while Schaeffler and McIlroy were playing for 3rd and 4th places.

The weapon that brought Burns to the top in this tournament was the putt. When he defeated Schaeffler in the semifinals, he caught a birdie with about 5m putts, and in the finals, he pushed Young by catching 6-7m birdie putts. Golf Week commented, “McIlroy thrilled the galleries by showing a long shot of over 330 yards, but Burns did not have time to see his long shot as he won the championship with a sharp putt.” McIlroy finished third in the event. Burns said, “I’m really tired, but I’m happy to have such a good result by building up good swings one by one.” With this victory, Burns, who has won 5 tours in total, has also risen to 10th in the world rankings.

The superficial reason for the end of this competition, which started in 1999, is a sponsor problem. According to US Sportscasting, Austin CC, where the competition is held, tried to raise the fee, but it failed, making it difficult for the competition to continue. In addition, title sponsor Dell Technologies wanted to bring in Intel as a co-host, but could not reach an agreement with the PGA Tour.

In the golf world, it is evaluated that the ‘extraordinary’, which is the core of match play, had a negative effect on the continuation of the tournament. Recently, the PGA Tour has been reorganizing itself to give more rewards to top players. It is a desperate measure to prevent leakage to LIV Golf. In this atmosphere, the analysis that even the best players will not welcome match play in which they have to pack their bags immediately after losing once is gaining strength. In this tournament, there were many surprises, such as Yon Ram (29, Spain), who is ranked second in the world, not even advancing to the round of 16.

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