The World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship will determine a champion via an 18-hole championship match for the first time in the event’s history this month.
The quarterfinals shift from Saturday morning to the afternoon, and the semifinals move from Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning. The 18-hole championship and consolation matches will be held Sunday afternoon.
The 2011 Accenture Match Play Championship returns to The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain, in Marana for the third-consecutive year, February 21-27.
“We believe the change to an 18-hole championship match will work in the best interest of our players, fans and corporate partners while not jeopardizing the competitive integrity of the event,” said Accenture Match Play Championship Executive Director Wade Dunagan. “It is our hope that four different matches contested throughout the day on Sunday, coupled with eight quarterfinal matches on Saturday, will provide more live action to our fans on site, as well as the worldwide television audience — all while still determining a most-worthy champion by the end of the competition.”
Since its inception in 1999, the Accenture Match Play Championship winner was awarded the coveted Walter Hagen Cup following a 36-hole finale on Sunday of tournament week, one day after the 18-hole quarterfinal and 18-hole semifinal matches were contested.
Over the past 12 years of the Accenture Match Play Championship, eight players who led after 18 holes have gone on to win. Only Davis Love III in 2004 and Andrew Magee in 1999 have lost the 36-hole match after leading midway through. Two other championship matches were tied after 18 holes.
Ian Poulter, currently No. 8 in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), defeated fellow Englishman Paul Casey, currently No. 7 in the OWGR, 4 and 2, in the 2010 Accenture Match Play Championship final to claim his first World Golf Championships title.
The 2011 Accenture Match Play Championship will feature the top 64 players in the OWGR as of Monday, Feb. 14. Among the notable names who need a strong start to the 2011 season to move inside the top 64 in the OWGR are former world No. 1 Vijay Singh (No. 87), Sergio Garcia (No. 75) and 2005 Accenture Match Play champion David Toms (No. 73).
The highest-ranked players in the OWGR who were not eligible to compete in 2010 (does not include Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson) are British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (No. 23), rookie sensation Rickie Fowler (No. 25), Bubba Watson (No. 27) and Justin Rose (No. 28).
Fans can purchase tickets to the 2011 Accenture Match Play Championship by visiting www.worldgolfchampionships.com.