Top stars gather for
Andersen Consulting Match Play
It may not be a major but
it comes close in terms of the high-class field. If the Algarve Portuguese Open
was a relatively low-key event on the PGA European Tour, the next stop, the Andersen
Consulting Match Play Championship, is anything but.
With big prize money and
massive television appeal, the first of the year's World Golf championships,
at Carlsbad, California, starting on Wednesday, features a start-studded 64-man
field including 14 European Tour giants of the game.
Whether the competition
should command such a prominent place on the European Tour is open to question.
Unlike several other events on the circuit, World Championship tournaments do
little for grass-roots golf.
Equally debatable is whether
a matchplay event in the United States should follow a strokeplay competition
in central Europe.
What is certain, however,
is that the Andersen Consulting will attract huge galleries, comprising as it
does the top available players in the official world rankings.
Indeed, this year 18 countries
will be represented. From Europe come the likes of Bernhard Langer, Jose-Maria
Olazabal, Darren Clarke, Sergio Garcia, Eduardo Romero and Thomas Bjorn.
There are some mouth-watering
first-round matches, none more so than that between Tiger Woods, so dominant
on the US Tour this season, and Michael Campbell who has won twice on the European
Langer's first-round battle
with Ernie Els should be equally intriguing as should Mark O'Meara against Greg
Norman. Olazabal meets Craig Parry of Australia, Open champion Paul Lawrie faces
Chris Perry of the United States while defending champion Jeff Maggert plays
compatriot Bob Tway.