The WGC-Dell Match Play is a unique, beloved tournament held in one of America’s fastest-growing markets. This year’s edition was a barn burner. Now it’s going away. Why?

I posed this question to some PGA Tour officials, and communications VP Stewart Moore sent me this comment on Sunday:

“The World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play has been an overwhelming success thanks to the support of Dell Technologies and Austin Country Club and the Austin community. However, with the PGA TOUR’s reimagined schedule for 2024, we have had to make some difficult decisions. With the number of designated events being reduced from nine to eight for 2023, a match-play event with 64 players does not fit into the framework for next year’s schedule. A match play event on the PGA TOUR schedule is a format players and fans enjoy. These are certainly considerations for the future.”

There are two significant insights here. First, the PGA Tour, not the sponsor or the host club, made the decision to cancel the Match Play. Second, the primary rationale for the move was the restructuring of the Tour’s 2024 schedule.

Next year, the PGA Tour season will revolve around the majors, the Players Championship, the FedEx Cup Playoffs, and a set of eight “designated events.” The designated events will adhere to a specific format: 72 holes of stroke play, fields of 70 to 80, and no 36-hole cuts. These tournaments are meant to attract the top players on tour and combat the competitive threat of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league.

In The Fried Egg’s various channels, we have written and spoken about our optimism for this new era of the PGA Tour. The designated events will give the season a cadence and clarity that it has lacked in recent years.

But big changes always have costs. One potential side effect of the designated-event model is format homogeneity. The PGA Tour’s biggest tournaments may lose some of their individual quirks as they become absorbed into this new structure. Other events, like the Match Play, simply won’t fit at all.

Granted, the tournament had other issues. Host Austin Country Club played hardball with the PGA Tour in recent contract negotiations, and many ACC members, according to widespread rumors, were tired of not having year-round access to their course. Also, the event’s sponsor, Dell Technologies, didn’t love the format’s tendency to produce sleepy Sundays. In 2019, Dell even proposed finishing the tournament with 36 holes of stroke play.

Those problems could have been overcome, though. According to Adam Schupak’s reporting, ACC agreed to the Tour’s preferred terms in January, and Intel offered last year to supplement Dell’s sponsorship with a five-year, $5- to $8-million deal. The Tour apparently rejected both overtures.

Whatever the reason, or combination of reasons, PGA Tour leaders don’t see a future in the Match Play. Let’s hope they feel differently about match play itself.

This piece originally appeared in The Fried Egg newsletter. Subscribe for free and receive golf news and insight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.