Volvo World Match Play Championship

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World Match Play Championship
Tournament information
Location Kent, England (in 2014)
Established 1964
Course(s) London Golf Club
Tour(s) European Tour (since 2004)
Format Match play
Prize fund 2,250,000
Month played October
Tournament record score
Score 10 & 8 Paul Casey (2006)
Current champion
Finland Mikko Ilonen
2014 Volvo World Match Play Championship

The Volvo World Match Play Championship is the current name of an annual match play men's professional golf tournament. From 2009 to 2012 the event was played at the Finca Cortesín Golf Club in Casares near Málaga, Spain, having previously been played at Wentworth Club near London. In 2013, the event was held at the Thracian Cliffs Golf & Beach Resort in Kavarna, Bulgaria. The event was traditionally played in the autumn, usually in October, but moved to a May date in 2011 and is an official money event on the European Tour. Previous sponsors have included Piccadilly, Suntory, Toyota, Cisco and HSBC.

In 2014, the event was played in October at London Golf Club in Kent, England.

History[edit]

The tournament was founded by sports agent, Mark McCormack, as a showcase for the players he managed. The inaugural event in 1964 was won by Arnold Palmer, who was McCormack's first client. The calibre of the winners has consistently been very high, with the majority of the tournaments being won by players who have been ranked in the top two in the Official World Golf Ranking or its predecessor Mark McCormack's world golf rankings.

The event consisted of 36-hole matches played in a single day. The event had an eight man field from 1964 to 1976. It expanded to 16 players for 1977 and 1978. In 1979, the field was 12 players, with four seeded players being given a bye in the first round. It was sometimes felt that this was unfair, as an unseeded player needed to string together eight successful rounds in four days to win, twice as many as in a stroke play tournament, whereas a seeded player only needed six successful rounds to win.

For its first 40 years the tournament was an unofficial one, highly regarded by golf fans in Britain and many other countries outside the United States, popular with players, and happily coexisting with the European Tour, at whose home course it was played, but not taken into account on an official tour money list. The introduction in 1999 of the 64-man WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, which selected its field on the basis of the World Rankings, was a blow to the prestige of the older event, whose exhibition aspects, with a small invited field, were emphasised by contrast.

In 2003, the tournament was given a major overhaul. Greatly increased sponsorship was secured from the largest British based bank, HSBC, and the winner's prize was increased to £1 million, which was then easily the largest in world golf (although the Nedbank Golf Challenge had had a $2 million first prize from 2000-02). In 2004, the field was increased to 16 players, all of whom need to play eight rounds of golf to win, to eliminate the advantage previously given to seeds. A qualifying system based primarily on performances in the four majors, replaced the invitations of the past. World ranking points were allocated to the event (for the first time since 1999[1]), and the championship became an official money European Tour Order of Merit event - not however the actual prize money, as the first prize is far higher than for the other events on the tour, but scaled down amounts intended to be more proportionate.

In recent years, Americans have tended to decline their invitations. In 2005, no Americans took part at all, and with stalwart Ernie Els injured and Vijay Singh and Sergio García also absent, the field was one of the weakest seen at the event, with just one player from the world top ten. The 2006 event had a considerably stronger field with six of the world's top ten players headed by the world's top two ranked players Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk. But in January 2007 HSBC activated a break clause in its ten year contract and withdrew from sponsorship after the 2007 event.[2]

After HSBC withdrew its sponsorship in 2007, the tournament was given another major overhaul. After a break in 2008, the tournament returned in 2009 with Volvo as the new title sponsor.[3] The event moved from Wentworth to the Finca Cortesín Golf Club near Málaga in Spain. The format switched to an opening round robin, with 16 players divided into four groups and the winners advancing to the 36-hole semi-finals. The qualifying criteria were also changed to include certain players based on their nationality. The total prize money for 2009 was €3,250,000, with €750,000 of that going to the winner.

After another break in 2010, the tournament returned in May 2011, several months earlier than the traditional date in autumn. The field was expanded to 24 players, split into eight groups, playing in a round robin format. The top two players from each group would progress to the knockout stage. Unlike previous years, all matches would be played over 18 holes. The total prize money for 2011 was €3,400,000, with €800,000 of that going to the winner.

In 2013, the event was held in Bulgaria, becoming the first European Tour event in Bulgaria. Volvo has requested that the championship be moved to geographical areas of interest for the company and therefore the event will be rotated around Europe.[4]

Winners[edit]

Year Winner Country Runner-up Country Score
Volvo World Match Play Championship
2014 Mikko Ilonen  Finland Henrik Stenson  Sweden 3 & 1
2013 Graeme McDowell  Northern Ireland Thongchai Jaidee  Thailand 2 & 1
2012 Nicolas Colsaerts  Belgium Graeme McDowell  Northern Ireland 1 up
2011 Ian Poulter  England Luke Donald  England 2 & 1
2010 No tournament
2009 Ross Fisher  England Anthony Kim  United States 4 & 3
2008 No tournament
HSBC World Match Play Championship
2007 Ernie Els (7)  South Africa Ángel Cabrera  Argentina 6 & 4
2006 Paul Casey  England Shaun Micheel  United States 10 & 8
2005 Michael Campbell  New Zealand Paul McGinley  Ireland 2 & 1
2004 Ernie Els (6)  South Africa Lee Westwood  England 2 & 1
2003 Ernie Els (5)  South Africa Thomas Bjørn  Denmark 4 & 3
Cisco World Match Play Championship
2002 Ernie Els (4)  South Africa Sergio García  Spain 2 & 1
2001 Ian Woosnam (3)  Wales Pádraig Harrington  Ireland 2 & 1
2000 Lee Westwood  England Colin Montgomerie  Scotland 38 holes
1999 Colin Montgomerie  Scotland Mark O'Meara  United States 3 & 2
1998 Mark O'Meara  United States Tiger Woods  United States 1 up
Toyota World Match Play Championship
1997 Vijay Singh  Fiji Ernie Els  South Africa 1 up
1996 Ernie Els (3)  South Africa Vijay Singh  Fiji 3 & 2
1995 Ernie Els (2)  South Africa Steve Elkington  Australia 3 & 1
1994 Ernie Els (1)  South Africa Colin Montgomerie  Scotland 4 & 2
1993 Corey Pavin  United States Nick Faldo  England 1 up
1992 Nick Faldo (2)  England Jeff Sluman  United States 8 & 7
1991 Seve Ballesteros (5)  Spain Nick Price  Zimbabwe 3 & 2
Suntory World Match Play Championship
1990 Ian Woosnam (2)  Wales Mark McNulty  Zimbabwe 4 & 2
1989 Nick Faldo (1)  England Ian Woosnam  Wales 1 up
1988 Sandy Lyle  Scotland Nick Faldo  England 2 & 1
1987 Ian Woosnam (1)  Wales Sandy Lyle  Scotland 1 up
1986 Greg Norman (3)  Australia Sandy Lyle  Scotland 2 & 1
1985 Seve Ballesteros (4)  Spain Bernhard Langer  Germany 6 & 5
1984 Seve Ballesteros (3)  Spain Bernhard Langer  Germany 2 & 1
1983 Greg Norman (2)  Australia Nick Faldo  England 3 & 2
1982 Seve Ballesteros (2)  Spain Sandy Lyle  Scotland 37 holes
1981 Seve Ballesteros (1)  Spain Ben Crenshaw  United States 1 up
1980 Greg Norman (1)  Australia Sandy Lyle  Scotland 1 up
1979 Bill Rogers  United States Isao Aoki  Japan 1 up
Colgate World Match Play Championship
1978 Isao Aoki  Japan Simon Owen  New Zealand 3 & 2
1977 Graham Marsh  Australia Raymond Floyd  United States 5 & 3
Piccadilly World Match Play Championship
1976 David Graham  Australia Hale Irwin  United States 38 holes
1975 Hale Irwin (2)  United States Al Geiberger  United States 4 & 2
1974 Hale Irwin (1)  United States Gary Player  South Africa 3 & 1
1973 Gary Player (5)  South Africa Graham Marsh  Australia 40 holes
1972 Tom Weiskopf  United States Lee Trevino  United States 4 & 3
1971 Gary Player (4)  South Africa Jack Nicklaus  United States 5 & 4
1970 Jack Nicklaus  United States Lee Trevino  United States 2 & 1
1969 Bob Charles  New Zealand Gene Littler  United States 37 holes
1968 Gary Player (3)  South Africa Bob Charles  New Zealand 1 up
1967 Arnold Palmer (2)  United States Peter Thomson  Australia 1 up
1966 Gary Player (2)  South Africa Jack Nicklaus  United States 6 & 4
1965 Gary Player (1)  South Africa Peter Thomson  Australia 3 & 2
1964 Arnold Palmer (1)  United States Neil Coles  England 2 & 1

Multiple winners[edit]

Through the 2014 event, the following players have won the World Match Play Championship more than once:

Wins Player Country Years won
7 Ernie Els  South Africa 1994, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007
5 Gary Player  South Africa 1965, 1966, 1968, 1971, 1973
5 Seve Ballesteros  Spain 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1991
3 Greg Norman  Australia 1980, 1983, 1986
3 Ian Woosnam*  Wales 1987, 1990, 2001
2 Arnold Palmer  United States 1964, 1967
2 Hale Irwin  United States 1974, 1975
2 Nick Faldo  England 1989, 1992

* Woosnam is the only person to have won in three different decades

Qualification criteria[edit]

For the 2014 championship, the qualification criteria are as follows:[5]

  1. Defending champion
  2. The winner of the 2013 European Tour Race to Dubai
  3. The winner of the 2014 Volvo Golf Champions
  4. The winner of the 2014 Volvo China Open
  5. The winner of the 2014 Scottish Open
  6. The leading three available players, not otherwise exempt above, from the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) as of the conclusion of the 2014 Open Championship
  7. The leading three available players, not otherwise exempt above, from the Race to Dubai as of the conclusion of the 2014 Open Championship
  8. The current holders of the four major championships
  9. One tournament invite (with top 50 of OWGR as of 2014 PGA Championship, or from host country)
  • Categories (1–2) will be filled with the next highest ranked and available player(s) from the final 2013 European Tour Race to Dubai, not otherwise exempt.
  • Categories (3–5) will be filled by the highest ranked and available player(s) from the 2014 European Tour Race to Dubai as of the conclusion of the 2014 Open Championship, not otherwise exempt.
  • Category (8) will be filled by the highest ranked and available player from the 2014 Race to Dubai as of the conclusion of the 2014 PGA Championship, not otherwise exempt.
  • Category (9) will be replaced with another tournament invite (if no top-50 OWGR or host nation players available, then the highest ranked and available player on the 2014 Race to Dubai as of the conclusion of the 2014 PGA Championship will qualify).

Media coverage[edit]

The World Match Play currently gets shown live by Sky Sports and it also gets broadcast in Ireland by Setanta Ireland.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°11′N 0°44′E / 51.19°N 0.73°E / 51.19; 0.73