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World Matchplay to stay in the USA

The World Golf Championships Match Play event likely will be held only in the United States in the future, said PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.

Finchem attended last week's Match Play Championship in Melbourne, Australia, and saw that the absence of most of the game's stars detracted from the event, leading to relatively small galleries in one of the world's most sports oriented cities.

Finchem originally thought the January 3 date was the main reason why so few of the top players went to Australia, but now says the best venue to attract the stars is the United States.

The first two Match Play Championships were held at the La Costa course in Carlsbad, California, in late February of 1999 and 2000, and the event will return there next year. Last year all but one eligible player participated.

The poor turnout in Australia, "probably argues to keeping the Match Play in the U.S. and rotating the other World Championships events around," Finchem said Tuesday in a quick visit to Kapalua, site of the Mercedes Championship starting on Thursday.

Finchem believes the late February timeslot is ideal, although he isn't committed to keeping the event at La Costa after next year.

Forty eligible players, including Tiger Woods and defending champion Darren Clarke, skipped last week's event, won by American Steve Stricker.

The other two official money World Championships events this year will be held in the U.S., with the unofficial money World Cup scheduled for Japan in November.

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