The Match, something different from PGA Tour

The ninth edition of The Match will take place in Florida, an event that periodically sees some of the world's most renowned golfers, both professionals and amateurs, go head-to-head

by Andrea Gussoni
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The Match, something different from PGA Tour
© Getty Images Sport - Cliff Hawkins / Staff

The ninth edition of The Match will take place in Florida, an event that periodically sees some of the world's most renowned golfers, both professionals and amateurs, go head-to-head. This match, inaugurated by Phil vs. Tiger in 2018, is something different from the classic PGA Tour format.

Being an event to raise money for charity, the players are much more relaxed, joking around, cruising in golf carts, and providing real-time commentary on shots with studio commentators.

The Match, schedule

For the first time tonight, two female pros will participate: Lexi Thompson and Rose Zhang, who will join Rory McIlroy and Max Homa in a mixed matchplay.

Significant innovations in this edition concern the playing course: after eight editions played on mundane courses owned by large private resorts, this edition of The Match will be played at The Park, a public course designed by two of the world's top architects, Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner, and intended to be affordable and accessible to all.

Furthermore, the match will be played at night, with the course illuminated by an artificial lighting system; "night golf" is becoming increasingly popular in the United States, allowing clubs to sell many more green fees.

The Course The eighteen holes of The Park were built on a reduced budget and with a clear mission: to bring as many people as possible to golf through a high-quality architectural course, accessible to beginners and challenging for good players, while also incorporating numerous initiatives to engage the community.

Among these initiatives is a caddie program, which allows various young people to get into golf without expenses, supplemented by a program that combines golf and school with scholarships. The club has a separate clubhouse dedicated entirely to young people, so they can study and play golf in the same place.

Tonight, we will see how a course designed to introduce newcomers to golf can still pose a challenge for four of the world's best players. In a course where, according to the architects, "it is impossible to lose a ball," precision will still be required of The Match players.

On the wrong side of the fairway, it is often impossible to stop the ball on these hard and very angled greens. To lower maintenance costs, many of the greens are not protected by bunkers, but by undulations and terrain movements, making knowledge of the slopes essential to attack the flags from the right side.

In addition to being an entertaining event to watch on TV, the ninth edition of The Match will be a true masterclass in golf course architecture.

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