Accenture Match Play stays in Tucson one more year, undecided after that

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2011 Accenture Match Play Champinship winner Luke Donald now knows he'll defend his title at Dove Mountain next year. After that, though, the event's home remains up in the air.
By
Associated Press

Series:

The WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship is returning to Dove Mountain in 2012 for the sixth straight year.

The PGA Tour said Monday that the World Golf Championship event again will be played at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, where Luke Donald won last month over Martin Kaymer.

The contract with Dove Mountain is to expire after 2012, while Accenture's title sponsorship agreement goes through 2014.

The PGA Tour also said that Gerald Goodman, a popular tournament director with players when he ran the tour event at Innisbrook near Tampa, Fla., would take over as executive director of the Accenture Match Play.

The Match Play has been at four courses since it began in 1999 -- seven years at La Costa, one year in Australia, two years at The Gallery on Dove Mountain and the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club.

Soon after this year’s event ended, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said that speculation that the Match Play was moving for 2012 would be “inaccurate.”

Its future venue, however, remains uncertain.

The tour is about to enter negotiations on a new television contract, which expires in 2012. Tour executives have been hammering out various models in recent months and are close to presenting a proposed schedule of events.

“We’re not uncomfortable” there, Finchem said. “It’s worked well and we have a good partnership with the people here. The facilities are great. It’s just that as we get into television later this year, it forces us to look at the overall calendar and make sure the calendar works. As you know, there’s a lot of moving parts to that.”

Chief among them is whether the NFL schedule expands and pushes the Super Bowl deep in February. Another part of the equation is the Fall Series and the tour’s interest in adding tournaments in Asia. It already has one in Malaysia, along with the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

“Then you have the traditional part of it, which is tournaments wanting to move in certain situations,” he said. “Right now, this tournament is at the end of the West Coast, and that appears to be a strong possibility that would continue.”

At that time, Finchem said the tour would decide on the Match Play venue within three months to give local organizers time to prepare. Then again, that’s also true for all the PGA Tour events on the West Coast swing, and even some in Florida.

It’s all about the calendar.

“Like here, if we wanted to play this a lot earlier, it gets to be a struggle weather-wise,” he said. “All the WGCs, China included, you’ve got to be careful in terms of player movement and making sure it fits with the different tours. We’ve already created problems with ourselves globally with the expanded season. It’s complicated.”

Part of the headache later this year is the South African Open being held the same week as the Presidents Cup, especially with the top five players in the International team standings from South Africa.